If in the past the world denounced slavery as the cruelest act in the human history, today it has taken a new form.
During colonial era, slaves were violently forced to leave their homelands. Some were even bought by colonialists in open markets as one could buy some bunches of bananas on the street.
This was precisely due to the shortage of labour, the failure to find alternative sources of labour, religious and military factors, racial attitudes, the importance of the West Indian colonies, and many other factors.
Today more than ever, human trafficking is a reality. It is an evil trade which is affecting our young African generation who are seen as the most vulnerable. Allow me to use the words of Pope Francis who said that human trafficking is a ‘crime against humanity.’
Aware of this crime, the Santa Marta Group , which is a global alliance of police leaders, bishops and religious communities working in collaboration with civil society in the fight against human trafficking, organized a conference in Kenya on human trafficking whose aim was to make local communities and the government aware of the dangers of human trafficking.
When speaking about this conference, the president of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB), His Most Rev. Philip Anyolo, Archbishop of Kisumu, underlines the fact that through this conference, participants will have the opportunity to learn from each other, to develop partnerships against slavery and finally find practical and effective ways, in order to face the crisis of human trafficking on the African continent.
Majority of this conference’s participants believed that human trafficking on the African continent is due to poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunities. Today Africans, especially young ones, risk their lives crossing Mediterranean unsafely with the intention of going to find a better life in Europe.
But the fact of the matter is that once these Africans reach Europe, they find a different reality. Then they realize that Europe is not as a paradise as they thought before. Some would then wish to go back to their home countries but because of shame and lack of means, they cannot. Most of the migrants, especially men, end up in drugs and women in prostitution.
Therefore, I would like to make an appeal to the young people of Africa at large, and Kenya in particular, who still think that good life can only be lived in Western. You better know that you can be rich wherever you are and fulfill your dreams wherever you are.
In Europe, there are also poor people who are homeless and jobless just like in our African countries. In fact, many Europeans have understood that Africa is a place of opportunity and growth. That is why they are leaving their countries and are now coming to invest in Africa.
I humbly appeal to you our African political leaders, work hard in order to eliminate poverty, improve the life of people and create job opportunities for citizens. If not, the latter will always dream of Europe.
Let us not forget that most of these European countries that our people envy today were worse than our African countries fifty or sixty years ago. Furthermore, they do not have the same potentiality or natural wealth which most of our African countries have.
Fr André Nzuzi, imc