Bishops in Mozambique Encourage Prevention, Support for Human Trafficking Victims

Image depicting appeal to put an end to human trafficking
Credit: Public Domain

In a situation where cases of human trade for purposes such as sexual slavery, forced labour and other forms of human exploitation for commercial gain are on the rise in Mozambique, the Catholic Bishops in the Southern Africa country are encouraging various stakeholders to work toward preventing and supporting victims of human trafficking. 

“The Bishops have called Church organizations to be active in the prevention and psycho-social support to victims of human trafficking,” the Director of Caritas in the diocese of Pemba, Mozambique, Leah Marie Lucas told ACI Africa in reference to the concerns and appeal expressed by Mozambique’s Episcopal Commission for Migrants, Refugees and Displaced People (CEMIRDE).

CEMIRDE, which is abbreviated from its Portuguese name, Comissão Episcopal Para Migrantes, Regufiados e Deslocados, expressed concerns about the growing trend of women and children falling prey to deceptive tactics of traffickers and appealed “to families, parishes, schools and Church organizations to take an interest in what is happening around their neighbourhoods,” Vatican News reported.

The Commission’s Executive Secretary, Sr. Marinês Biassibet encouraged faith-based organizations to provide pastoral care “through awareness creation or providing pastoral guidance on how to deal with the issue of human trafficking, migrants, refugees and displaced persons.”

Responding to CEMIRDE’s concerns and appeal, Leah of Caritas Pemba told ACI Africa Tuesday, “As we know that poverty is one of the driving factors of human trafficking, Caritas Pemba is actively working through development programs to create economic opportunities for otherwise vulnerable rural communities throughout the province of Cabo Delgado.”

Caritas Pemba is a diocesan chapter of Caritas International, the humanitarian branch of the Catholic Church.

Through Leah’s leadership since this year, Caritas Pemba is implementing a variety of projects around Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado through activities such as farming, food security, education, infrastructure, water and sanitation, health, emergency relief, among others.

During the 105th World’s Day of Migrants and Refugees, which took place September 29 under the theme “It is not just about migrants,” Pope Francis advocated for proactiveness, cautioning against indifference and insensitivity, which are the “tragedy” of poverty, CNA reported.

The Holy Father encouraged the people to reinstate the lives of migrants and refugees and no one should be left behind, Vatican news reported.   

The World Day of Migrants and Refugees has been celebrated since 1914. The celebration is a time to be in solidarity with different vulnerable people, and prayer as well as raising awareness about migration.

According to reports, Africa has a big challenge on human trafficking, where women, children and migrants are highly targeted. More than 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders annually.

Human trafficking in Africa is a $13.1 billion industry.  $8.9 billion comes from sexual exploitation.

Victims of sex trafficking yield $21,800 each due to high demand. In this regard, while forced labor has three times more victims, sexual exploitation generates more than double the profits, according to reports.

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ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]