International Day of Prayer and Awareness against human trafficking: 8 February 2019

On February 8, 2019 let’s turn on a light against trafficking of persons, to celebrate the 5th edition of the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against human trafficking whose theme this year is:

“Together against human trafficking.”

The first edition of the IDPT was celebrated on February 8, 2015, by the will of Pope Francis, who in 2014 entrusted the International Union of Superiors and Superiors General (UISG / USG) with promoting this day. In these years, gathering in prayer has facilitated collaborating and overcoming the boundaries within which we operate, dedicated to our projects that, although very important, could lead us to cut ourselves off from the others. The great tragedy of trafficking urges us to overcome every barrier to join forces and collaborate for the common good.

This requires us to coordinate our actions and unite our strengths.

“Together against human trafficking” is the invitation addressed to everyone, each according to their own possibilities.

Download here the text of the prayer vigil

Download the prayer card

Visit also the website of the prayer against human trafficking


Josephine Bakhita, the African Saint

Josephine Bakhita (1869-1947), a former Sudanese slave who became a saint, is still little known in the West, unlike in Africa. Telling her life is captivating, as her earthly journey is so unusual, almost romantic. Her youth is rich with uncommon events, but it is the period when she is religious that is the most important. Her rather long journey of 78 years testifies that this humble Daughter of Charity was a true witness of God’s love.

Read the whole story on the website of “Notre histoire avec Marie” (only in French).

A new network in Ghana

Consecrated Persons against Human Trafficking

From March the 12th to the 16th 2018, took place the Training against Trafficking in Persons for ReligiousWomen and Men at the Divine Word Conference Centre Nsawam in Ghana. It was led by the worldwide organization Talitha Kum Arise. Many Religious Congregations, some already involved against slavery and human trafficking, were present. The Society of the Missionaries of Africa were represented by Haile Gazena M.Afr. and Amani BulamboDieudonné M.Afr.. The workshop aimed at training religious and lay persons on how to become active members of the counter-trafficking world-wide network. Talitha Kum works towards preventing human trafficking at its grass roots level and helpsvictims and survivors of that modern day phenomenon.

The training highlighted the menace of modern day human trafficking and its human cost.

The first part of the workshop provided good information about slavery and human trafficking, such as:

  • The global framework: roots, constitutive elements, dimensions of trafficking. The phenomenological and juridical framework of human trafficking. Special attention was given to the geopolitical and economic realities of the post-cold war era that led to the rise of human trafficking in destination countries.
  • The international law, its flaws and its inability in prosecuting the perpetrators of such heinous acts, due to the weakness of the very law which is meant toprotect the victims of trafficking.

The second part of the training was focused on:

  • How to prevent human trafficking and how to protect its victims and survivors through networking.
  • It also offered tools of empowerment, models of prevention, examples of good practices and a description of burn out signs of those committed against human trafficking.

Finally, the participants and the mother network “Talitha Kum Arise” founded a sister network which will be known as ConPAHT (Consecrated Persons Against Human Trafficking)/ Talitha KumGhana which will carry out anti-trafficking campaigns and prevention in Ghana; it will interact with the networks of other sister organizations and with the international network in Rome too.

The group vision and mission are as follows:

Vision Statement:

We, the members of Consecrated Life in Ghana,
moved by our faith in God,
respect for human dignity and freedom,
commit ourselves to counter human trafficking.


Mission Statement:

We, the members of Consecrated Life in Ghana,
are committed to address the menace
of human trafficking
through the following strategies:
massive awareness creation
towards prevention;
provision of support for survivors;
building knowledge and skills of practitioners
and collaboration with groups
of/with similar interests.


Haile GAZENA Demissie, M. Afr.
St. Monica’s Parish – Nyankpala

Africa – a song to sensitize…

Text of Luciano Somma
Music of Fabio Volpe
Ed. AGOSMUSIC- Vignola (Modena)

Sguardo di ragazzo dalla pelle scura
Solo la miseria vedi intorno a te
Sogni la tua barca che ti porti via
Verso il tuo destino che chissà com’è.
A dark-skinned boy’s look
All you see around you is misery
You dream of your boat taking you away
Towards your destiny, which nobody knows what it will be.
Troppa fame
C’è nella tua Africa
Terra che profuma di mistero
Brucia senza scampo
Già da secoli
Questo continente troppo nero
There is too much hunger
In your Africa,
Earth that smells of mystery,
It’s been burning without escape
For centuries
This continent too black.
Eppure canti
E la tua musica va
Oltre il cielo oltre il mare
Ma chi t’ascolterà
Tu lo sai che però
La tua vita da vivere

Irta e piena di ostacoli
Clandestina sarà.
And yet you sing
And your music goes
Beyond the sky, beyond the sea,
But who will listen to you ?
And yet you know that 
Your life that you have to live,
fraught and full of obstacles,
Will be clandestine.
Brucia come brucia
La tua Africa
È una beffa il sole da lassù
Padri missionari
Per te pregano
Mentre troppi sono I tuoi tabù.
Burns as it burns
Your Africa !
The sun from up there is a mockery !
Missionary Fathers
Pray for you
Even though too many are your taboos.
E ti chiedi spesso che sarà domani
Vedi un cielo scuro, scuro più di te,
e negli occhi cresce la malinconia
mentre solo Dio ti può dir perché.
And you often ask yourself what will be tomorrow made of.
You see a dark sky, darker than you,
and melancholy grows in the eyes
while only God can tell you why.
Troppo fame … There is too much hunger …

Social economic challenges and vulnerable Youth in Tandale

In the year 2016, the Tanzanian government launched an audacious campaign to eradicate corruption in Tanzania. However, some of the economic policies informing the campaign against corruption seem to be against the flow of economic development.

As noted by Ha-Joon Chang in his book “The bad Samaritans”, the fight on corruption should be well defined before setting it into motion. If well launched it helps to develop the country and the lives of the citizens. When the point of departure and the execution of the fight on corruption are wrong, it may retard economic development in that particular country. Note that for the economic pie to grow, the efficiency in work should be enhanced with less restrictions. There is a common assumption that eradicating corruption would automatically lead to economic boost but that is not true as good as it may sound. I am not saying the contrary either. All I am saying is that it depends on the approach in sweeping out corruption.

While the current government in Tanzania means well for the public good in fighting corruption, we have been witnessing unintended consequences of the fight on corruption. For instance, a lot of local investors have reduced on their investments in Tanzania and are seeking to take their business to neighbouring countries. This has seen a drastic reduction in the number of job opportunities among the young people. In response, most of the youth spend time idling around streets or sitting on the road side waiting for the day to pass by.

The government is aware of the reality and argues that it has neither reduced the salaries nor changed the economic policies, all it has done is to put a stop to corruption so if anyone is crying foul it means they were benefiting from corruption. This points towards the complex of stamping out corruption. The approach the government is using has inspired fear in many citizens.

John Slinger (M.Afr) and I have been doing apostolate in Tandale on the Basic Needs Basket. During the preliminary inquiry on the economic conditions in Tandale we talked to a few people. One person said that the government could knock on your door at anytime and ask you to justify or account for your earnings. The normal trend in a capitalist state is to conduct investigations only when there is some evidence that the fellow may have benefited from corrupt transactions. Asking people to justify their earnings on the basis that they have grown too rich scares away local investors.

… the youth, most of the young people have resorted to short term jobs like boda-boda drivers.

With a drastic drop in local investors who used to employ the youth, most of the young people have resorted to short term jobs like boda-boda drivers (drivers of motor cycles). They are usually employed by the owners of the motorcycles. The common conditions of work demand that the riders should pay Tshs 7000 (Tanzania shillings) per day. If they make more money that is their salary if they make less, they still have to find the means to pay the difference to reach that fixed amount.

Unfortunately, the motorcycles often get stolen. Sadly in most of these cases, the riders are considered as the prime suspects. They arrest and subject them to harsh interrogation methods. Some get acquitted and thus are set free. Some get convicted and sentenced to prison. Based on the narrative from the former victims, it seems even those convicted some of them it is due to lack of legal representation. Some feel very intimidated and thus fail to give a coherent account of events and this results in serving a prison sentence.

Elvis Ng’andwe, M.Afr.
Tandale – Tanzania

New Antenna of AEFJN in Kenya

A new antenna of AEFJN has been launched in Nairobi on February 16, 2018. It was preceded by a two-day workshop (February 15-16) on Advocacy and AEFJN. The antenna is anchored by the Conferences of Major Superiors of Kenya. Prior to this time, the two conferences (male & female religious congregations) worked independent of each other. AEFJN is now a common voice for the two conferences. A structure to coordinate the activities of the antenna for the next one year has been set up. The antenna chose the theme of Tax Evasion/Money laundering for their advocacy activities and will be meeting in the coming days to develop their Plan of Action on this theme. The Secretariat is very grateful to the antenna of UK and the Executive for their contributions in the setting up of the new antenna. The antenna of UK has further committed to working closely with the new antenna to mentor her.

Other antennae exist in Cameroon and in Central African Republic.

Round Table on South Sudan and the DRC (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)

The input of Bernard Ugeux

18th January 2018 in Rome

Father Bernard Ugeux talking at the Round Table on Peace in South Sudan and the DRC.

I thank the organisers for having invited me to speak at this round-table on South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Continue reading “Round Table on South Sudan and the DRC (PE nr. 1089 – 2018/03)”

What is a coordinator

On a busy street in one of India’s congested cities, traffic has ground to a halt. Frustrations are high as a young man yells at a hapless policeman. A large tree has fallen across the narrow thoroughfare, and nobody knows what to do. Snarled traffic, glum looks, despairing gridlock. A young woman says in English on her cell phone, “I hate this country.” Then the situation gets worse: it begins to rain. Buckets. A young boy, maybe seven or eight, pokes his head out a bus window. […]

Read the rest of the story here :