, 07 October, 2019 / 6:00 PM
The just concluded Nairobi convention on the challenge of human trafficking has tasked the local Churches in Africa under their umbrella bodies, that is, Conferences of Catholic Bishops, to spearhead the plans of action, which the meeting resolved and outlined in 26 recommendations.
Establishing “a desk dealing with human trafficking” at the level of Bishops’ conferences and dioceses, identifying human trafficking “hot spots”, and collaborating “with the law enforcement authorities, judiciary, immigration department, (and) police forces” are among the action plans, which the Nairobi conference tasked the Catholic Bishops on the African continent to implement.
“Each Bishops’ conference to create safe houses for victims of human trafficking,” reads another recommendation contained in the communique at the end of the Nairobi conference organized by Santa Marta Group.
The conference, the second one on the continent, also tasked the Conferences of Bishops in Africa to develop initiatives “that will provide and establish means of livelihood such as agribusiness and entrepreneurship.”
The use of drama, poetry, and music and the translation of pastoral documents into local languages were also recommended as plans of action to be implemented under the leadership of the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in Africa.
The convention that brought together delegates from about ten African countries also recommended that the Conferences of Bishops “use the existing platforms such as Catechism classes, Small Christian Communities, religious retreats and gatherings to create and deepen awareness on human trafficking.”
The communique at the end of the conference, availed to ACI Africa Friday, October 4, also outlines the need to “develop a curriculum that is inclusive of training on human trafficking in the religious houses of formation, seminaries, catechetical centers and catholic schools.”
The Nairobi conference has also recommended an “annual forum that brings all the catholic principals together and annual meeting for primary school head teachers” as avenues for creating awareness to fight the challenge of trading human beings.”
“Conducting workshop(s) for the clergy to understand the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and why the Church should network with the government,” was also recommended as one of the plans of action, which the Conferences of Bishops in Africa need to implement.
Convened under the theme “Sensitizing the local communities on dangers against human trafficking,” the two-day conference also recommended that governments in Africa, “avail adequate infrastructure that is family oriented which is women and children focused.”
“Engaging county commanders to unveil and bring to light cases of human trafficking,” and the need for national and regional governments to enact laws to curb human trafficking,” were also recommended as action plans.
Signed by the chairman of Commission for Refugees, Migrants & Seafarers, Bishop Virgilio Pante and the African project coordinator of the Santa Marta Group, Fr. Mark Odion, the communique recommended that in the “next Santa Marta Conference, each bishops conference to issue a progress report on their achievement in the fight against human trafficking.”
According to reports, human trafficking is a global concern where victims are “trafficked into different forms of labor, and for sexual exploitation.”
No country in Africa is exempted from the trade of humans.
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