INDIA – BANGLADESH – VATICAN Day against human trafficking: 150,000 victims a year in South Asia

In India alone, an estimated 8 million people are victims of this crime. Pope Francis in his message: “The trafficking system takes advantage of injustice and iniquity.” A reality against which many missionary works such as the Trust of Nano Nagle School in Goa are fighting. Meanwhile, the news comes from Bangladesh of the disappearance of two girls from Chandpukur parish; it is feared that they have fallen into human smuggling networks.

Milan () – “Human trafficking disfigures dignity. Exploitation and subjugation limit freedom and turn people into objects of use and disposal,” Pope Francis said today in a video message on the occasion of the International Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking.

In South Asia alone, the United Nations estimates that 150,000 people are trafficked each year, the majority women (44%) and girls (21%). Forced labor, sexual exploitation and child marriages are the main causes of this crime.

“The trafficking system takes advantage of the injustices and inequalities that force millions of people to live in vulnerable conditions. In fact, people impoverished by the economic crisis, wars, climate change and so much instability are easily recruited,” he continued. the pontiff in his message. This year, the day’s motto is “Walk with dignity” and recalls the figure of Saint Josephine Bakhita, a Sudanese woman who was sold into slavery, mistreated and finally freed, who today is the patron saint of human trafficking survivors.

The Pope’s words reflect the experience of many ecclesial realities in Asia that work to prevent prostitution and human trafficking. One example is the Trust of Nano Nagle School (TNNS), an educational project created in Goa and run by the Redemptorist Fathers, which welcomes children from immigrant families or from slums. The p. Ritesh Rosario, director of TNNS, told that “the vision of the school is to provide free education in English to immigrant and street children, as well as school dropouts, to prevent child labor and child abuse and uphold the rights of children” .

The school is located in the Majella vice-province and welcomes boys, but mostly girls, from the slums in the Margaon and Navelim areas of South Goa. From kindergarten to high school, the Trust of Nano Nagle School, in accordance with the statutes of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, offers not only academic education, but also breakfast and lunch, and technical, domestic skills courses and informatics, personality development and moral values, to help girls free themselves from the dangers they could fall into without education and training, explained Fr. Rosario.

According to some estimates, human trafficking networks in India involve at least eight million people, most of whom are slave laborers. The successes of so many girls who attended the Redemptorist school testify to the importance of the value of education to prevent minors from being kidnapped or lured into trafficking. This is a dramatically daily occurrence in many parts of Asia, as witnessed by a recent complaint from neighboring Bangladesh, where a human trafficking network may be hiding behind the case of the kidnapping of two girls.

Rumila Mardi, 14, and her younger sister Maria Mardi, 4, had gone to the field to collect rice on the morning of December 28, but never returned home to Phulbaroiya Baghdanga village in Chandpukur parish, near Naogaon, in the north of the country. Two days later, her mother went to the police to report the kidnapping, but the complaint was not registered. Only thanks to the intervention of Father Belisario Ciro Montoya, priest fidei donum Colombian associated with PIME, the investigation was able to begin: “I met this family, I want the police to search for these disappeared girls. Every day we pray for them during mass and the rosary,” Father Bellisario told .

“We have no enemies. We also have good relations with our neighbors and we don’t understand why our daughters disappeared,” said Aroti Murmu, mother of the two girls. According to a UNICEF report, every month about 400 women and children are trafficked in Bangladesh. Another study notes that some 300,000 Bangladeshi children and women between the ages of 12 and 30 have been trafficked to India alone in the past ten years.

(Collaborated by: Nirmala Carvalho and Sumon Corraya)

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Written by Editor TLN

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