19 February 2013

Africa: Church Urged to Fight Human Trafficking

Nairobi — The Catholic Church in Africa has been challenged to intensify its 'war' against human trafficking.

Sister Maggi Kennedy of Missionaries of Our Lady of Africa (MSOLA) congregation, formerly White Sisters, told delegates at a symposium on: From the Anti-slavery campaign to the fight against human trafficking held at Tangaza University College, langata on February 16.

"As we meet here, probably one or many women and young girls are being trafficked either locally or internationally,"she further told the symposium delegates through her presentation whose theme was: "Human Trafficking...21st Century Slaves -the silent epidemic...Our Story-our challenge.

The Catholic Nun, a renowned activist in the war against human trafficking, said this year marks a momentous moment in our history as a Church when 125 years ago at the request of Pope Leo XIII, himself a man of vision with radical concern for social justice especially in the area of abolition of slavery and Slave Trade, appointed Cardinal Charles Martial Lavigerie, Archbishop of Algiers in North Africa to spearhead the Catholic Church's contribution to the abolition of slavery and the slave trade.

The symposium, jointly organized by MSOLA and Tangaza University College aimed to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Cardinal Lavigerie, Archbishop of Algiers' entry into the anti-Slavery Campaign in 1888.

"Human trafficking," the Catholic Nun said, "is the world's best money earner after drugs and small arms."

"There is a serious link between human and drug trafficking; hence a fight against one should involve the other," she explained.

In his paper on: Fighting Genocide and a Crime against Humanity: Cardinal Lavigerie and the African Slave Trade, Tanzanian Catholic priest Father Dr Laurent Magesa said much of the cotemporary African political , economic and social situation cannot be reasonably explained without reference to the horror of the Slave Trade.

Tonny Moses Odera, a Kenyan High Court Advocate and human rights lawyer, underscored that engaging in any acts that promote child trafficking including adopting or offering a child for fostering and offering a child for guardianship is a criminal act.

"Involved persons are liable to imprisonment for a term not less than 30 years or a fine not less than Kshs 20 million," he explained.

Radek Malinowski, a researcher on human trafficking lamented that the area -human trafficking - is under researched.

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