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Networking Against Human Trafficking in Europe

Working against the trafficking of women is one of hundreds of ways in which Medical Mission Sisters and our Associates around the world try to be a healing presence to others today.

German Sister Dagmar Plum is on the steering committee of RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking against Human Trafficking and Exploitation). An expert in human trafficking and its effects in Germany, where prostitution became legal in 2002, Sister recently visited Tirana, Albania. She met with Marjana Meshi, the director of Different and Equal, a shelter for trafficked women and girls, and visited the shelter’s residents.

Sister Dagmar also spent several days with Sister Imelda Poole, a British Sister of Loretto and a fellow RENATE steering committee member. Their first stop was at a poor Roma camp, where people live in cardboard houses covered with plastic bags. Sister Dagmar says, “Looking at their beautiful faces, I am not surprised that these kids can easily fall prey to traffickers.”

The next day, Sister Dagmar visited with young women outside of Tirana who are being reintegrated into their families and communities. One young woman had been trafficked to Italy as a minor. Another ex-victim, now a university student, is determined to use her studies to bravely help other victims fight for their rights.

Sister Dagmar later met a group of women in distress who were single mothers, divorced or abandoned, living in a dilapidated building. She reflects, “It’s mainly Sisters who make a difference to these women with so much potential. I pray that their determination and skills will bear fruit so they can make a living through their own work.”

“I found dignity despite suffering,” Sister Dagmar says of the women and girls she met on her trip. “I am convinced that many of them will come to terms with their lives…women still have a long way to go to be recognized as equal but different.”

For more information, please visit: www.renate-europe.net.

April 15, 2011