Sr. Eugenia Bonetti

“It was back in 1993 that Italian Consolata Sister Eugenia Bonetti first started seeing African women standing on the roadsides waiting for clients. Sr Eugenia had previously spent over two and half decades working as a missionary in Africa and she was shocked to see how many young girls from different African nations, were working as prostitutes back in her home town of Turin.

But then one of these girls, Maria, turned up at the Caritas Centre where she worked and followed her to Mass that evening – an event that would profoundly change Eugenia’s life and challenge all her ideas about religious ministry and mission. In short, she says, Maria became her catechist, helping her understand the complex routes by which so many women and girls end up trafficked from places across the globe, to be bought and sold, beaten and raped and end up working the streets of our so-called civilized countries.

Today there are some 27 million victims of a global trafficking industry with a turnover of around 32 billion dollars a year. For the past two decades, Sr Eugenia has been on the frontline of the Catholic Church’s efforts to combat this trade in human beings, to break the chains of this modern form of slavery and to help trafficked women regain a sense of hope and dignity in their shattered lives.

Sr Eugenia is chairperson of the ‘Slaves No More ‘ non-profit organization and coordinator of the Italian Religious Superiors’ Counter-trafficking Office for Women and Children. Her network extends to 30 different countries and works in the prevention, rehabilitation, and protection of the victims and their families as well as the repatriation and reintegration of the victims back in their homeland.”