AFRICA/BURKINA FASO – “Talitha Kum” International Network: Father Gonsum on the fight against human trafficking in Africa

AFRICA/BURKINA FASO – “Talitha Kum” International Network: Father Gonsum on the fight against human trafficking in Africa

Tuesday June 11, 2024

Ouagadougou (Agenzia Fides) – Father Augustine Rotshak Gonsum comes from northern Nigeria, precisely from Pankshin, in Plateau State. He is a priest of the Society of African Missionaries (White Fathers) in Burkina Faso, currently in the Province of French-speaking West Africa (PAO). He lives in the “Maison d’accueil” community in the capital and works at the “Pélican” educational center in Paspanga (Ouagadougou). He spoke to Fides on the sidelines of the General Assembly of “Talitha Kum”, the international network against trafficking and exploitation of human beings, of which he is deputy coordinator in Burkina. The assembly brought together representatives from 90 countries around the world, gathered at the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) to mark the 15th anniversary of the organization founded in 2009.

“The organization is present in several localities in the African country: Bobo Dioulasso, Ouagadougou, Banfora, Diébougou, Koudougou, Nouna, Tenkodogo, Dédougou, Gaoua and Ouahigouya,” reports the missionary. “Through our commitment, we want to promote, encourage and advance human trafficking-free, safe and healthy communities for all. We promote respect for the fundamental rights and dignity of all people, regardless of their race, religion and origin, unconditional respect for the love of Christ for men and an inclusive environment. he. “

The Talitha Kum Network is committed to ending human trafficking, abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people through prevention, awareness-raising, advocacy and victim support activities. We seek to engage in direct and meaningful dialogue with people who wish to leave their countries in the hope of a better life, to conduct educational programs to raise awareness among individuals and communities about the issue of human trafficking and to participate in studies and research to better understand the causes. and risk factors for exposure to new traffic scenarios,” reports Father Augustin.

Among the initiatives launched by the network in Burkina, Father Augustin cites awareness raising among pastoral agents, meetings in schools, colleges, universities and parishes, and broadcasts on radio and television channels on the reality of human trafficking. Human being. “But we also welcome many victims and survivors,” adds the missionary. “We try to offer them a climate of security and prepare them to return to their country of origin. There are victims from Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso… Social reintegration consists to offer them academic or practical training as a source of income so that they can reintegrate into society more easily. All this – concluded the missionary – supposes that we find resources or that we direct them towards other organizations to ensure. their support This is why we are in close contact with embassies, youth ministry, hospitals, police stations, women’s centers and the Ministry of Youth and Justice.

“Talitha Kum has become an extensive and global network, which at the same time is also well rooted in the local Churches,” Pope Francis said on May 23 in his address to participants in the international network meeting: “It has become a point of reference for victims, their families, people at risk and the most vulnerable communities (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 06/11/2024)