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Human Traffic:
an affront to the human rights!

Arlindo Pereira Dias
(Rome – Italy)

n June, the 17th, about 50 people from 20 different nationalities participated in a conference about traffic of Human around the World in the General House of the Missionaries of the Divine Word, in Rome. In 2006, the Divine Word´s General Chapter , that congregated 160 people all of the world assumed as resolution “the magnifying of the information about traffic of people and the search of contribution with others to liberate the world of this terrible scourge”.

The lecturer was a Salesian sister Bernadete Sangma from India. Since 1999 she coordinates the work of promotion of the woman from her institute. The congregation counts on assistance communities to the women victims of traffics in Italy and Albania. Sister Bernadete defines as mission of the group “to spread information so that the knowledge generates ways of prevention”. It is about a joint project between USG and UISG (Union of Superiors and General Superiors) and the OIM - International Organization for the migration.


Sister Bernadete Sangma
Fr Arlindo Pereira Dias

The Phillipino Fr. Antonio Pernia, General Superior of the Divine Word Missionaries, comments that until the moment the religious group has been involved in this mission, but does not count on contribution of the masculine part. For him, the importance of the conference is the opportunity of “a problem so great being known by the communities, especially of the masculine side. Although it is a responsibility of all the question sensitizes the women more and less the men. Therefore the necessity exists that we need to be more informed about the problem”, concludes.

Among the cited cases by the dossier there is one about a Chinese man named Ngun Chai that sold his 13 year daughter for prostitution, at the cost of a television and he still regretted not having sold her for a better price. Another case is of the Berta, a girl originally of the village of Sapele, a state that makes border with Edo (Nigéria). An acquaintance contacted her asking if she wanted to work with his sister in a beauty saloon in Germany. Instead of this, Berta was sent to Italy where they gave sexy clothes and forced her to prostitute herself.

When we go deep in the data we realize that it becomes still more scandalous. Every year, between 800 a thousand and two million people are caught in the traffic cycle. Most of the victims comes from Asia. In one year, about 225 a thousand women are trafficked from southeastern of Asia and about 150 from South Africa. The Former Soviet Union already is considered one of the biggest sources of traffic: the women involved in the sexual exploration are around 100 a thousand. Every year between 200 a thousand and 500 a thousand Latin American women are trafficked to the United States and Europe.

Milan Bubak, Coordinator of the Dimension of Justice and Peace of the Divine Word Missionaries comment that one of the reasons of the propagation of this scourge is the “lack of information and the naivety of the people who believe in false promises”. He also remembers despite the traffic “is not related only to sexual trade, but to other types of abuse, as labor slave and even though the murder of people for commercialization of organs”.

An immigration that can transform the life!

After the Conference Sister Bernadete granted us the an interview:

How was born this commitment in relation to the combat of the human traffic?

The groups of Justice and Peace and integrity of Creation (JPIC) had met with the sister Lea Ackerman, founder of the group Solidarity with disfavored women (SOLWODI) The meeting arouse interest of the religious congregations in working in this field to fight against the traffic. To its intern a work group specific about traffic of women and children was created. In the plenary of the USG of 2001 the group presented a document describing the told phenomenon and facts and the traffic statistics in the diverse parts of the world. Interpellated by the OIM - International Organization for the migrations the project started to offer formation courses on the subject in Italy. From there onward courses in the Nigeria and South Africa had been made, in Saint Domingos and Brazil, Thailand and Philippines, Rome, Albania and Romania.

Which was the most difficult experience that you had during the accompaniment of this work?


Fr Milan Bubák
Sister Bernadete Sangma
Fr Antonio Pernia

The traffic brings hard and painful experiences of all the kinds. It is so dehumanizing. My stronger experience was to follow some Thai girls who had been trafficked in Italy. One of them was only 17 years we find her in the Reception House. She had a scar beginning from shoulder to the waist. She jumped from the second floor because she saw some men coming with drugs, she was scared and decided to jump. She was full of fractures and she had to stay for a long time in the hospital. She was suffering a lot and she said that if she was turned back to Thailand would not survive. The life and the work are very hard there and her health did not allow to work anymore.

In Manaus I noticed that native women (indigenous) are trafficked to the “Ilha das Margaridas”, in Venezuela, a tourism zone. The involvement of the organized crime is so strong that the people even have fear of speaking about the subject. The Columbian women are taken to Japan for the sexual exploration. As the culture and the language are totally different, the trauma that they suffer are much stronger. In Brazil it is common the internal traffic and in direction to Europe and U.S.A. In Latin America many women from “Santo Domingos” and Bolivia are trafficked to Argentina or from Bolivia to Chile. The Peruvian women are taken to the South Korea. After the fall of Sucre in the Equator there was a very strong flow of Ecuadorian immigrants to Italy, also for the sexual traffic.

What the society and the Churches can make to combat the traffic of people?

We must build contribution nets so that the phenomenon is fought in its origin countries and in destination or transit countries. In its origin countries one of the measures to be taken is to fight against the poverty and find alternatives of work not just for the women, but also for the youth so that they do not fall easily in the traps of the dealers. We do not know yet how to use our force in the creation of safer canals of immigration for the youth who searches improvement of life in other places. If the dealers are so capable to establish contact between one nation and other to explore the people why cannot we create strategies that promote its dignity?

We must guarantee the right to an immigration that of truth can transform the life. Everything this should have to happen in transversal way including the fight against the discrimination of the women and the girls. In everywhere the aspect of the sexual exploration is very strong. This flame in cause the relation of inequality between man and woman, between women and who sell and use them. In the countries of destination, that coincides with developed countries, it would be necessary to change the politics of migration and to fight the unjust economic policies that generate the continue impoverishment of the poor countries. On the other hand, we should look for how to support the people who had fallen in this trap and to help them to reconstruct their life.