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SPAIN: Salesian Missionaries Develop Awareness Campaign to Prevent Migrant Deaths at Sea, Child Trafficking

(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Spain are focusing their efforts on raising awareness of the dangers faced by migrants coming to Europe and child trafficking, two important issues facing the international community. Both issues are rooted in economic inequality and a lack of educational opportunities and social development support.

Migrant populations face many challenges when leaving their home countries in search of safety, work and a better way of life. In 2014, the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that more than 3,500 African migrants died in the sea on their journey to Europe. In response, the Salesian Youth and Development organization in Madrid, Spain has launched an awareness campaign called #StopNaufragios (Stop Shipwrecks) denouncing the inhumanity of these trips by migrants to Europe. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the cooperation among Southern countries that are working to eliminate the extreme poverty that forces people to flee their homelands.

“The human capital of a continent cannot be allowed to disappear, drowned in the waters of the Mediterranean, while Europe looks the other way,” says Manuel De Castro, president of the Salesian Youth and Development organization. “It is not just a problem of safety at sea nor of the mafia who engage in trafficking and get rich on the suffering of others. This a problem that will be solved only when, through the development of these impoverished countries, their inhabitants can reach a sufficiently dignified life and will no longer need to leave their country.”

The campaign will include various activities to raise awareness and financial support for educational projects facilitated by Salesian missionaries in countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Senegal, Mali, Togo, Ghana, Niger, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Sierra Leone and others. Salesian missionaries will focus on bringing training and awareness to the most disadvantaged youth, informing them of the dangers of travel while providing alternatives that include educational programs to improve future opportunities.

One of the dangers facing migrants as well as other youth in impoverished countries is child trafficking. At the end of May in Valencia, Spain, Salesian missionaries from the Salesian Missions Office in Madrid participated in a round table conference on child trafficking in Africa organized by Global Networking for Rights and Development, an international non-governmental organization established in June 2008 with the aim to enhance and support both human rights and development by adopting new strategies and policies for real change.

In addition to Salesian missionaries, the conference included Joseph Chalengi, president of the African Economic, Social and Cultural Union, Mohamed Lemine Haless, president of Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, a non-governmental organization in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in Northern Africa and Professor Ximo Revert of the University of Valencia.

After the group screened, No estoy en venta (I am not for sale), a documentary created by the Salesian Missions office in Madrid which focuses on the experiences of victims of child trafficking in Africa, Ana Munoz, spokesperson of the Salesian Missions office, noted that child trafficking is the slavery of the new century and spoke about the work being done by Salesian missionaries to combat the issue.

“We at the Salesian Mission Office in Madrid cannot stop the traffickers and put them in jail, but we can accommodate and help children and families, and we can inform the public about the phenomenon and work with governments and the security forces to eradicate this scourge,” added Muñoz.

The conference attendees focused their work on addressing the  problems at the root of child trafficking, strategizing new ways to work with countries in Africa to spread awareness of the issue and provide better access to education while working to strengthen educational systems and help families out of poverty.



Photo: Massimo Sestini / The Italian Coastguard (courtesy of the United Nations)

ANS – Spain- Child Trafficking, a Scourge for the Present and the Future of Africa

ANS – Spain – Salesian Youth NGO launches #StopNaufragios campaign


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