The African Church in aid of migrants:
a work of integration, development and formation
Rome (Agenzia Fides) - The number of internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, refugees, internal and international migrants and victims of human trafficking who in 2019, on African territory, were assisted by Catholic missions or related realities linked to the Church is equivalent to 27,788. 525 workers and volunteers participated in the activities, dedicated to training, health and legal assistance projects. These are the figures presented in the report "Migrant Pastoral in Africa" carried out by the section of Migrants and Refugees of the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development in collaboration with the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA). The research document takes a precise picture of the migratory phenomenon in the African continent, where, in 2018, the estimated number of international migrants was around 245 million, most of them concentrated in East Africa. The document identifies forced displacement and human trafficking for forced labor as the main threats to human security: "It is estimated that Africa hosts more than 30% of the world's refugee population. It is also estimated that 6.25 million people are enslaved in sub-Saharan Africa, a figure that comprises 13.6% of the world's enslaved population", the report notes. The document also identifies Libya as the main destination country for victims of trafficking managed by criminal organizations, who traffic mainly sub-Saharan migrants in transit to Europe. Faced with these emergencies, the Church in several African countries tries to respond with concrete actions aimed at integration and the development of skills. Specifically, 31 language training courses were held for 1,409 immigrants, refugees and victims of trafficking; 32 vocational training courses for 1,579 immigrants and 771 asylum seekers and refugees; 5 school support initiatives for 304 minors; 70 scholarships for 48 minors and 266 foreigners. More than 3,000 immigrants were able to benefit from healthcare initiatives in surgery, general and specialized medicine, while some 1,800 immigrants benefited from legal assistance initiatives.