This year the theme for Bakhita Day: ‘’Say YES to Freedom and No to slavery: Migration without Trafficking’’, attracted many people to come and be present at the cathedral of St Paul in the heart of Tirana, Albania. This theme concerns all of us in every corner of the world. Here in Albania we have refugee camps and the country struggles to bring real justice to the many people coming through our borders. Thousands of Albanians are now refugees all over Europe and some caught up in the nightmare of human trafficking. This day helped us to focus on the details and the suffering, asking for pardon as we own our participation in such a global crime. The evening event was led by the Albanian network against human trafficking called URAT.
Both the Archbishop of Tirana, George Frendo OP and the Government Minster against Human Trafficking, Rovena Voda, spoke movingly and with passion during this service, highlighting the many issues related to Human Trafficking and reflecting the stories which lead to such trauma. All members of the network participated in the evening event and bought with them many members of their organisations who are part of this ongoing effort to eliminate the world of human trafficking. The evening worship consisted of a shortened form of that compiled by Talitha Kum in Rome. It included the wearing of wrist bands distributed during the evening declaring our involvement ‘’Yes to Freedom and No to slavery’’, a film made locally on Safe Migration by MWL and two Power Points. One of these PP’s expressed the horror of the plight of refugees all over the world and the other, which was addressed by students from the Company of Mary School called ‘’Ylber’’, illustrated the many pieces of art work produced by the students as an anti-trafficking awareness raising campaign in the school. All the prayers and readings illustrated the plight of the trafficked and the need for all people to take action against such a crime and we were called to be in union with Pope Francis who is leading us in this action.
The service in Albania involved a call to action in support of the refugees in the local camp in Tirana. All those present were invited to contribute to the care and the demanding upkeep of the many people from countries, mainly in the Middle East, who are resident in this centre. URAT, the Albanian network against trafficking, which meets monthly at Mary Ward Loreto, will implement this action within the next month. This will be in collaboration with the director of the refugee camp.The pictures of the evening, focusing on this issue, reflect very much the mood of the evening.