Trafficking in Women Is Targeted by Christian Aid Groups

European Organizations Aim to Cooperate More Closely

BRUSSELS, Belgium, DEC. 16, 2002 ( Churches and religious organizations from all over Europe are unveiling a new plan to combat trafficking in women, Caritas-Europe reported.

The Christian Action and Networking Against Trafficking in Women (CAT) project launched today combines ongoing activities of various services in the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Greece, Germany, Lithuania, Romania, Russia and Ukraine, as well as of the Conference of European Churches.

The project has been initiated by the churches’ Commission for Migrants in Europe (CCME) and Caritas-Europe and will cooperate with other agents active in the fight against trafficking.

The project will be carried out with the financial support of the EU-STOP-Program. Welcoming the financial support from the European Commission, CCME General Secretary Doris Peschke expressed “hopes that the excellent work already done by churches and their agencies on the local and national level will become more visible and more effective through the international cooperation.”

Exchange of experiences and know-how against trafficking will be at the heart of the CAT project.

Internal communication will be strengthened and project results will be shared with a broader public, in part through Internet.

The “Coatnet” (Catholic Organizations against Trafficking in Women), which is already in place as an initiative of Caritas, will become an ecumenical portal for Christian initiatives against trafficking.

“All these measures should help to make our actions more effective and primarily aim at improving the assistance for and protection of victims,” said Martina Liebsch, coordinator of Coatnet.

The ecumenical CAT project is planned for one year, the organizers reported. The partners involved are confident that the initiative will gain momentum and become even broader over the next year.

“The criminal networks of traffickers are active internationally, so our responses need to be as international and as proactive as possible,” Doris Peschke, the CCME’s general secretary, said in Brussels on Sunday.

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