On the occasion of the feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita on February 8, 2019, the Lavigerie community in Karlsruhe, Germany, organized an evening of awareness raising against human trafficking. This evening was held in collaboration with the local NGO “justice project”.
A few weeks earlier, we had already advertised this meeting by distributing posters in parishes, universities and other NGOs’ public places, in magazines and on the Internet. We decorated the room with roll-ups of our Sisters and Fathers, presenting their work on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of our two institutes.
Our meeting began with a video on Saint Bakhita and an overview of the anti-slavery campaign of our founder, Cardinal Lavigerie. The “Justice project” then presented its actions in the city of Karlsruhe against forced prostitution, prevention and information work in schools, universities and various local church groups and parishes: they try to identify female victims. Flora Ridder works in the Griesbach house where migrants and refugees with health problems are found. In collaboration with the “justice project”, she informs them of people involved in the prostitution network. Kordula Weber collaborates with “justice project” in a state reception centre for all migrants and asylum seekers. Every Wednesday evening there is a women’s café. In just five months, 13 women were helped. Thereafter, they can benefit of protected housing, support in administrative procedures and receive medical and psychological assistance.
The care of victims of organ trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, forced labour, prostitution, forced migration, commodification and exploitation of farm workers, young people caught up in online harassment is done in collaboration with others involved in the reception and support of migrants and refugees.
An aperitif at the end of the evening provided an opportunity to discuss further with the speakers.
A Eucharist specially prepared by the community on this feast of Saint Bakhita was celebrated with parishioners to pray and raise awareness among Christians about the human trafficking that still exists today.
Very few people have responded to our invitation, but this does not prevent us from continuing to move and go beyond what is known to be sowers of hope.
The Karlsruhe Lavigerie Community