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SENEGAL: Youth are Positively Impacted by Salesian Stop Human Trafficking Campaign

Youth are positively impacted by the Salesian-lead Stop Human Trafficking Campaign that was launched in October 2015 by Salesian missionaries in Italy. The campaign raises awareness of the dangers of youth migration. With a focus on youth leaving countries in Africa in search of a better life in Europe, the campaign aims to prevent young migrants from becoming victims of crime and exploitation. The campaign is part of an initiative promoted by the Salesian-run International Voluntary Service for Development and the Don Bosco Mission Association in Turin, Italy.

By providing analysis and research on the real reasons for migration, informing potential youth migrants about the risks of the journey and the real chances of success along with giving individual guidance to those who want to leave, the campaign is working to deter young people from leaving countries where people are most at risk of human trafficking such as Senegal, the Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Ghana. In collaboration with Salesian missionaries in Africa, the campaign will also raise funds to help with program development in targeted countries in Africa.

The campaign has already found success in Senegal after research there has shown that nearly 40 percent of youth leaving the country are leaving in search of better educational opportunities. With that knowledge, funds now are being raised through the campaign to provide scholarships to students in Senegal so they are able to access educational opportunities within their own country.

One young student that was helped by this program is 20-year-old Ahmed Ndiaye, who grew up in Linguere, a city located northeast of the capital city of Dakar is in Senegal. Ahmed left Linguere in 2009, to live with his brother in Dakar. He worked as an apprentice in a tailor shop and for years, grew up in conditions of poverty was forced by those who sheltered him and his brother to beg in order to reach every day the daily quota required to maintain them. They were beaten if they did not reach the target.

Ahmed lost his father a few years ago and he says that his mother has a lot of hope for him. As not to disappoint her he started to learn a trade and to study French. Many young Senegalese do not speak French, since they study only Arabic. Now Ahmed has joined the literacy course organized by the Don Bosco Center, which helps many young people to study and make up for gaps in their education, improving their employment opportunities.

But the literacy course is only a first step. Ahmed would like one day to attend a professional course, preferably an evening course, so that he can keep his day job. Ahmed has a dream to become a good tailor and a great business man. He lacks the money to start, but does not stop hoping and never fails to try because he does not want to disappoint his mother or himself.

“From awareness programs in communities to radio programs, the Stop Human Trafficking campaign is utilizing a number of different methods to reach its audience,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The campaign is also using real stories of young people who have returned home after having been victims of human trafficking, which has been quite effective.”

As part of the campaign, the Don Bosco Center is also providing information on the risks of illegal migration including interviews with children who survived their migrant journey and returned home, videos, radio programs and local newspaper stories in addition to sponsoring forums, films and debates in rural areas.

“This campaign has been successful in reaching thousands of youth and creating awareness of the many forms of fraud, trafficking and exploitation facing those who venture on such migrant voyages while at the same time giving information on the possibilities for development that exist in these countries,” adds Fr. Hyde.


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Stop Human Trafficking Campaign