(ANS - Brussels) - Yesterday, February 19, an absolutely Salesian day took place in Brussels: bringing the voice of the most defenseless young people of Sierra Leone to the highest European institutions to discuss the issue of these young people being forced to exercise prostitution to survive. The Salesian delegation met the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani who appreciated and urged the work of the Salesians to continue and pledged to support the advocacy work for these girls.
In an event organized by Don Bosco International, together with COMECE (Commission of EU Bishops’ Conferences), and hosted by the Spanish Member of the European Parliament Mrs Teresa Jiménez-Becerril, Fr Jorge Crisafulli, director of Don Bosco Fambul, and Augusta Ngombu-Gboli, a young beneficiary, were able to share what Salesians do in this African country and the opportunity that Don Bosco Fambul is providing for young girls like Augusta through education, therapeutic care and vocational training. The event took place in the European Parliament and counted on the presence of six MEPs from diverse nationalities and many representatives of civil society and church authorities.
Augusta shared her terrifying and touching story, how Don Bosco saved her life and gave her a new opportunity to start again; she also described how she is now a young entrepreneur in catering services and she cooperates as a trainer in Fambul to support girls that went through the same traumatic experience. Also, Fr Jorge shared the programmes and some key successes with the Sierra Leone government after his first visit in April 2018.
In the same event, Mrs Barbara Terenzi, Human Rights Office coordinator of VIS, shared the campaign Stop-Human Trafficking and the joint efforts with other Salesian organizations to prevent this dramatic phenomenon, as well as promoting circular migration. In addition, Fr Michael Czerny, Undersecretary of Pope Francis in the Migrants and Refugees section, presented the recent document “Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking” that establishes several pastoral policy guidelines to deal with this modern slavery of which Pope Francis often speaks.
This intense day was completed with a number of technical encounters, with the research parliamentary services and with public servants in charge of development policies for Africa in the European Parliament; as well as a private meeting of Fr Czerny with several Catholic organizations that work in the EU institutions on migration and the fight against human trafficking.
The immense joint work of Misiones Salesianas and Don Bosco International to overcome the bureaucratic and migratory burdens, and make possible the presence of Augusta on this day in Brussels, were a sign of Divine Providence, but also a great opportunity to show the vast discrimination faced by young people like Augusta in today’s world. These phenomena are a clear appeal to Salesians to be present both at the grass-roots level but also in the Institutions and International Forums.
- Unione Europea
- Don Bosco Fambul
- Don Bosco International
- Sierra Leone