Sr. Josineide Maria da Silva, SNDdeN
I am a woman religious in the Congregation of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and a social worker. As a woman, Christian, religious and social worker, I value my duty to save lives from any injustice and to struggle for others to protect their human rights.
To combat this crime against the human person, I began to work in 2012 with women of various Religious Congregations who form Network: A Cry for Life, for the purpose of preventing the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation. This Network emerged so that women religious may take an active stance against the reality of human trafficking. In the face of the clamor of the victims of sexual exploitation and the diverse modalities of the trafficking of persons, women religious accept the challenge of a specific ministry, focused on this growing crisis in modern-day society.
The major objectives of the Network are:
- to raise awareness and provide information by prioritizing groups in situations of vulnerability, community leaders, pastoral agents and others;
- to organize groups of reflection and study;
- to spread the ministry by empowering individuals who will empower others;
- to participate in social movements advocating for public policies for confronting the trafficking of persons.
According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE 2010), the state of Pará has 7,581,051 inhabitants from 144 counties; these are gigantic proportions compared to most of the other states in the Amazon region. A negative aspect for this population in Brazil arises from the elevated incidence of women trafficked for sexual exploitation. Women from the peripheries of Belém are recruited for Surinam, French Guyana and other countries to practice obligatory sex and other evil objectives, such as human slavery.
Pastoral Ministry for Women
The trafficking of persons, especially of women, is a consequence of social inequality and an expressed, depraved social issue, from colonial times in Brazil until today. The main victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation are girls and women who live in situations of poverty and social vulnerability. In the face of this reality, I am sensitive to women and girls who are victims of trafficking for sex and other ends.
Active Involvement through Education
Professionals in social work face a great variety of challenges in today’s society, with sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy in adolescents, trafficking of persons for sexual exploitation among others. Social workers seek alternatives to understand these challenges for the persons involved. As a requirement for completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, I presented a paper at the University on December 5, 2016 on the reality of the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation in the city of Belém, as a current and great challenge for social workers. Researching and writing this paper led me to discover that social inequality and the ineffectiveness of public policies are factors that contribute to many incidences of sexual exploitation. Social Service workers must start by seeking public policies that meet the needs of the women who are victims of sexual exploitation by traffickers of persons.
I see this crime as happening in a “silent” and “invisible” manner, as exemplified by the reality of women on the periphery of Belém. I want to work by exposing this crime by ministering to these women as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur and to assist these victims in collaboration with other women religious for systemic change in Brazil.
A thought that inspires me often as I minister to those in need is the valued ideal of the late Nelson Mandela of South Africa:
“I struggled against white domination, and I struggled against black domination. I nourished the ideal of a democratic and free society, in which all live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal that I hope to live to see become reality. But, if necessary, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”