How Salesians are Supporting Victims of Human Trafficking in Africa

Homeless youth in Uganda find hope for bright future. Credit: Salesian Missions

On the occasion of the annual World Day against Trafficking in Persons marked July 30, members of the U.S—based development arm of the Religious Institute of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB), Salesian Missions, have highlighted initiatives helping to prevent trafficking and support to victims across the globe, including Africa.

The missionaries who operate in more than 130 countries are working both to prevent human trafficking and to care for victims who are living on the streets and seeking a second chance in life.

“Salesian missionaries around the globe provide programs and services to help youth lead healthier and productive lives, combat trafficking, and ensure youth are safe,” the interim Director of  Salesian Missions, Fr. Timothy Ploch says in the July 30 report.

He adds, “Salesian missionaries in many countries educate youth about the dangers associated with migration, which can put them at risk of trafficking and those who might wish them harm.”

“One of the primary ways we support youth is understanding the needs of the local market and providing training programs that help youth find work in their own communities in employment sectors that are looking for skilled labor,” he says.


In Sierra Leone, the Don Bosco Fambul’s Girls Os+ program is providing support and recovery for underage girls who are victims of sexual violence and abuse and forced into prostitution.

Launched six years ago, the program has changed the lives of more than 600 girls and given them the opportunity to start a new life and access education, the SDB officials say in the report.

To support the Girls Os+ program, they say, “Don Bosco Fambul launched a therapeutic center with four large buildings, a clinic, accommodations for volunteers and social workers, a house for the Salesian community, and a chapel. It’s the only program of its kind in West Africa that enables girls to live in a safe environment to overcome their traumas and start a new life.”

“Salesian missionaries, professional social workers, and pastoral workers provide crisis intervention and follow-up care for girls and young women who have been victims of sexual assault. Girls that access services at the shelter are also able to attend educational programs that are a part of the broader Don Bosco Fambul network of programs,” they add.

They continue, “These educational programs give young women the skills necessary to find and retain employment.”

More in Africa

In the East Africa nation of Uganda, Don Bosco Children and Life Mission (Don Bosco CALM), located in the town of Namugongo, just northeast of the city of Kampala, rescues, rehabilitates and reintegrates street children back into society. 

“Salesians meet basic needs and provide education, socio-cultural activities and recreation to help youth have a bright future,” SDB officials say in the report.

Don Bosco CALM, they continue, “works primarily with homeless boys and those who have been orphaned, battered, and neglected.”

“They also work with other vulnerable youth and children, including those who are HIV/AIDS positive,” SDB officials say and add, “Currently, the organization has 165 children in its care. All of the children are in school with some attending Don Bosco Primary School, Salesian secondary schools and vocational training institutes.”

Marked under the theme, “Reach every victim of trafficking, leave no one behind”, this year’s event seeks, according to the United Nations, to highlight “calls on governments, law enforcement, public services, and civil society to assess and enhance their efforts to strengthen prevention, identify and support victims, and end impunity.”


Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.