Against Human Trafficking One Must Try to Listen, See and…
By Sister Ana S. in Argentina
In the middle of last year I was talking with a farmer friend (producer of fruit) on various topics, when he told me his concerns because he had seen what was happening in a nearby farm where a migrant from a neighboring country brought other people from his country and had them work in inhuman conditions and also shared his suspicions that he may have young women for the purpose of sexual exploitation. This conversation was repeated at other times and at my suggestion that he make the complaint, refused on the grounds of “prudence,” suggesting to me that I make it and that he would connect me with potential witnesses.
Earlier this year, we both spoke with a migrant family who had been able to escape this situation, living in the street a few days until a caring family gave them shelter and work. Confidentially they gave us valuable information. For example, they were made to work from sunrise to sunset in the field, they ate poorly, slept on the floor all together on rags without mattresses, with electricity limited to a few hours, a single tap for water, awakened at 5 with screaming insults and that only the father was paid some $400 US dollars “annually. ” In addition, they were prevented from leaving the field by scaring them with the idea that any Argentine was armed and could attack them or they were going to be imprisoned by the police for being illegal. Let me clarify that Argentina has a very open law with migrants and one cannot imprison them.
I prayed and reflected on what I had heard and seen, conquered fears, sought advice and made the denouncement without knowing if it would be accepted.
The Prosecutor’s Office took the complaint seriously and they assured me that the data could serve to initiate an investigation, but it was very important to have the direct testimony of a victim for possible trial. We went to the farmer to explain to the family the complaint made and the need for their testimony. With joy at the opportunity to seek justice, they agreed to be witnesses and then gave the information to the public Prosecutor. Currently this denunciation has been processed, although this only happens with 10% of the reports, as explained in the Prosecutor’s Office, but from here other investigations are being made.
It was a grain of sand not sought, but it sought me: it was a matter of listening, seeing and allowing the Light of Mercy to guide our actions.