What do you know about human trafficking? Is it happening around you or in your country? There are so many questions to ask. Our Congregational Chapter has stressed this problem as something we should address in our work to serve across our borders. Do you think it is realistic?
Our previous regional animator, Sister Liette Finnerty, had asked us to address this problem. A group of associates and I had accepted enthusiastically. A woman religious from another congregation came to help us in our formation. Sister Lia had given us all the necessary materials and she had also prepared support materials to spread the message.
At one parish, ten groups of parents of children attending one primary (1,000 pupils) and three secondary schools were made aware of this issue. At another parish,eight secondary schools were visited and were provided the information; in total, we attended ninety-three classes and the students as well as the staff had shown interest and were collaborating during these sessions.
They all already had some knowledge about the aspects of this awful reality: the recruitment, transfer, transportation, harboring, coercion, abduction, fraud… These are just some of the practices used by the traffickers.
During our presentation we used a twenty-minute video showing a concrete and at the same time frequent example: a young woman of seventeen consents to having sex with her loved one and, upon his insistence, she later accepts to do ‘what the hotel guests will ask of you’… sex. Her lover then takes her to a brothel without her accepting the ‘job’.
The discussions we had with students and parents clearly accentuated prevention. Between 2008 and 2014, there were 2,685 registered victims in Peru only: 9% were minors and 86% of these were girls. In the case of adults, 98% are women. The sentence for various kinds of human trafficking in Peru varies between twelve and twenty years in prison. In special cases, it can be up to twenty-five years.
The ultimate goal of a trafficker is the money.
As a congregation, let’s be vigilant in this new form of slavery and let’s keep working along with the Risen One informing the public about this social problem.
Elena López and Celina Martel, CSC
Canto Grande, November 2017
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