Posted on Tuesday, 07-04-2009
Italy – The IOM Mission in Rome and the International Union of Superiors General (UISG by its Italian acronym) are this week starting a new phase of their joint programme: “Counter-Trafficking Training for Religious Personnel”.
Since 2004, IOM and UISG, with funding from the US Department of State – Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), have provided training on prevention and assistance to victims of human trafficking to more than 450 religious personnel in 31 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.
As part of the latest agreement, IOM and UISG will carry out training for religious personnel in Senegal, and will hold a conference aimed at strengthening the network of personnel and congregations already trained by the project. The conference, scheduled for June, is a follow-up to the one held last year in Rome where 50 religious women from 20 countries gathered to create an international network of Catholic nuns working with victims of trafficking.
“The joint IOM/UISG work is witness to the benefit of good cooperation between lay and religious organizations in the fight against human trafficking,” explains Peter Schatzer, IOM Regional Representative in Rome. “With estimates ranging between 600,000 to four million people being trafficked each year across international borders, human trafficking is a complex problem. This project provides a strategic and methodical approach to the precious work already being carried out by religious personnel around the world.”
Stefano Volpicelli, IOM Project Manager adds: “The Sisters make an invaluable contribution in the assistance provided to victims. We have found that spirituality can speed up the process of healing and self-empowerment, which boosts the effects of the psychosocial assistance provided.”
Based on the success of this programme, IOM is developing similar projects with other religious denominations, including Muslim religious leaders.
IOM offices in Rome and Tripoli, in cooperation with the World Islamic Call Society, held a seminar in Libya to discuss ways to capitalize on the important role Imams can play in preventing human trafficking and providing assistance to vulnerable migrants.
The IOM/UISG agreement was signed in Rome by IOM’s Regional Representative for the Mediterranean countries Peter Schatzer, and UISG’s General Secretary Maria Victoria Gonzales de Castejón.
For further information, please contact:
Flavio Di Giacomo
Tel: + 39 06 44 186 207