The tragedies of trafficking
Can the sun rise again for women who have been trafficked?
Anti trafficking initiatives in Cameroon.
By Sister Mercy Muthoni Posted May 2018
This article was first published in the recent edition of Vivat International. Mercy (Picture left) has been involved in all aspects of this work for a number of years and is very aware of the devastating effects on young women who are trafficked.
Human trafficking as we know is our modern slavery. It is the third biggest organized crime in the world. As Missionary Sisters of the Holy Rosary here in Cameroon we are engaged in the following initiatives:
Prevention: Under prevention we carry out the following activities:
- We carry out educative talks in churches, social groups, in schools and we use the local media. Here we emphasize the dangers of human trafficking and the consequences. We have a lot of deaths mainly from the young people who died outside the community and many families do not know how or when they died, they receive their bodies and bury them and the story ends there. We use this as a tangible example as it is affecting so many families.
2. We carry out sensitization to the young people in schools and in the youth groups in villages.
3. We educate communities about the Cameroon law even though this is a challenge, as prosecution is yet a dream to be realized, thus we prefer to use community heads to challenge this ill from the grassroots.
4. We work with the drivers unions and the motor bike riders as they are the cheapest means of transport to help us to identify the movement. This has worked well despite a few instances of corruption.
5. When we get in touch with some young women who are tempted to travel to the Middle East, precisely Kuwait and Dubai, we discourage them through counseling and providing support like skills training because many want to go out because they have no means to go to school.
6. We encourage formation of micro scale initiatives through women’s groups. Women are wonder educators and a great force in fighting such ill in the society, all they need is follow up, education and encouragement.
7. Behavior change programs among the youths have also helped because the lessons on HIV/AIDS, the abuse and exploitation, help the young people to think twice before making a decision to move out.
Protection and repatriation
1. This has been a very huge challenge. Between 2014 to date, we have experienced mass exodus to the Middle East. We have tried to work with the embassy of Central Africa Republic in Kuwait, unfortunately it was closed down last year. We have worked with Talitha Kum Network, Rome and IOM and religious organizations within. Many of the cases that have been deported came back traumatized due to the amount of abuse and exploitation they encountered. They had so many debts, as they had to get huge sums to enable their travel and back at home they have not cleared the debts. So they come back more miserable than they left. Some are now mentally disturbed. Some come back and hide as they are not able to bear the stigma and shame.
- We try to do family counseling, trauma healing for the affected women and men. Right now we do not have a shelter or a place where even young men and girls who are rescued locally can be protected for some time but we look forward to initiating one.
Talitha, kum: Young girl, I say to you, Arise!
Talitha Kum is a Rome based network dedicated to saving women from trafficking. It aims to protect and rescue women from trafficking, assist victims, raise awareness in communities, and help local networks to improve their capacity to confront trafficking. Its title, Talitha Kum is based on the words of Jesus in Mark 5:41.