Abuja (Agenzia Fides) - "Sixty million people were either refugees or forcibly displaced in 2015. In Africa thousands of adults and children are being forced to flee conflict, poverty and persecution and are particularly susceptible to traffickers. Driven by a desperate need to survive and desire to build a better life, they are particularly vulnerable to both sexual and labour exploitation", says Caritas Internationalis in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, on the International Conference to be held from September 5 to 7 in Abuja, Nigeria, to raise awareness about the problem, give hope and combat human trafficking in Africa.
The conference is organized by Caritas Internationalis (within the network against trafficking, COATNET) and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, with the participation of Caritas Nigeria.
"The Conference - the statement said - will provide an opportunity to promote dialogue and cooperation between key stakeholders such as Faith-Based Organisations International and regional organisations, law enforcement and other NGOs , share practices on cooperation and challenges and identify common strategies for prevention regarding: the trafficking of children; Labour exploitation and sexual exploitation; trafficking in the maritime industry; trafficking in emergency situations".
Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the President of Caritas, Mgr. Robinson Wijesinghe, Director of Office, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, and high level representatives of the Catholic Church in Nigeria will join representatives from the Nigerian Government and the African Union, the Former Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Humans (OHCHR), the Sultan of Sokoto, the first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner of UK, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, representatives of international organizations and others to highlight this urgent problem.
Caritas is currently working on trafficking projects in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Mali with plans for another project in Senegal. The Conference intends to create stronger links between concerned parties, promote joint actions and share best practices of combating trafficking and slavery while offering assistance and giving hope to victims, as well as advocating for the implementation of anti-trafficking conventions and legislations in order to speak out with one voice against human trafficking in Africa. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 02/09/2016)