Sister Bonetti’s Mission
On Sunday, Oct. 29, Sister Eugenia Bonetti, a Consolata Missionary Sister, spoke to a number of Sisters of St. Joseph and their guests at Morrow Park. Her talk was filled with information, energy and passion.
After 24 years in Kenya, while on a visit to her home in Turin, Italy, Sister Eugenia's plans to return to Africa were suddenly turned around. In the streets of Turin she encountered many, many young women, some of whom could still be termed children. These women and children, mainly from Nigeria though some from Eastern Europe, were in the thrall of a modern form of slavery. Anxious to leave their homeland in order to have a better life, they had accepted an offer of transportation and employment — which put them in the sex trade in Italy. It would take them two or three years of working the streets every day and night to payoff their debt to the traffickers who had brought them. And by that time, they were finished, dead in spirit if not in body.
Toward a solution
Sisters of 15 congregations are sharing the work of caring for these women, helping them escape their slavery and start a new life. More than 250 Sisters are involved in this work in Italy alone. Others are working in the countries of origin, trying to prevent the trafficking in the first place.
More awareness and more help are needed — not only in Turin, but here as well. In Canada, we are not as likely to meet trafficked women on the street. Their presence is more hidden, whether they are used in the sex trade or as cheap labour. It is up to us to find them and discover how to help them.
The best way to cut off the sex trade, of course, is to end the demand for it. And that is more easily said than done. While women, Sisters in particular, are needed to help the women who have been trafficked, it is up to men to work towards ending the demand for such women.