For the past fifteen years the Irish Province of the Religious Sisters of Charity has very generously donated funding to the Immigrant Council of Ireland (ICI) for its work in human trafficking. This money has enabled its legal service help trafficked men, women and children in numerous ways. The following is a summary, written by Sr Stan Kennedy, of just one woman’s situation and the complexity surrounding it.
Anti Human Trafficking
Human trafficking in Nigeria is an issue that is still being tackled by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), NGOs and Religious bodies in which Religious Sisters of Charity are involved. Nigeria, due to her vast nature and dense population has problems of bad governance, corruption, unemployment, poverty and terrorism. Frequent conflict between herdsmen and farmers has taken many lives and destroyed properties. As a result, the situation has aided the continuous trafficking of women, men and children. Traffickers and their agents are also deceiving and luring away the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from their camps and many have fallen victims to human trafficking.
The sixth World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking takes place on 8th February 2020. Download the prayer HERE.
Members of the Inter-Congregational Anti-Human Trafficking Team have been busy in 2019 and we are happy to share some stories that have come in from around the world. Sr. Kathleen Bryant was very pleased to learn that a talk she gave in 2017 to MPI (Meeting Professionals International) back in 2017 has borne fruit as the group have committed to signing the code A Pledge to combat Human Trafficking. In their announcement of the signing, which took place on 4th April, MPI wrote:
“MPI’s original commitment to this cause came in 2017, when President and CEO Paul Van Deventer, who will be signing The Code on behalf of MPI, heard Sister Kathleen Bryant, a Religious Sister of Charity from Los Angeles and a board member of the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking, address an MPI International Board of Directors meeting.” You can read more by following this LINK.
Every year, APT (Act to Prevent Trafficking), arranges two public events. The Spring event takes place around the feast of St Josephine Bakhita, 8th February and the Autumn event around European Anti Human Trafficking Day, 18th October. This year, the Spring event was a conference with the title “Hidden in Plain Sight”. APT’s main function is awareness raising and we have found, in our various addresses to groups around the country that there is a great deal of unawareness of the prevalence of human trafficking in Ireland. We hoped to address this in our conference; hence the theme.
A Film & Arts Festival, “See It! End It!” was held March 29-30 to raise awareness of human trafficking at the historic Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro. RSC’s were part of the planning and present to support this event. Since so many films illustrate the violation of human rights and subsequently are very dark, the festival was enriched with dance, live bands, spoken work and steppers, paintings and visual arts. Artists and vendors with booths displayed their fair trade products, and organizations that help support youth at risk provided materials.
The Advocacy programme with the African Faith and Justice Network Nigeria (AFJNN) took place in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria from 17th to 23rd of June, 2018. The five sisters from different congregations who were present at the event planned and mapped out activities for the one week advocacy visits to different stakeholders in the State on human trafficking, child abuse/neglect and capacity building.
Our sisters in Nigeria participated in the activities of World Day against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July. They joined the entire Congregation and the whole world to express solidarity with all victims of human trafficking as part of the Congregation’s commitment for its abolition. Each community participated fully in different ways.
The anti-human trafficking team in the Nigerian Region organized two days workshop for the sisters in the Region. The purpose was to equip the sisters with more knowledge and skills in our commitment in combating human trafficking in our different ministries and environment.