Posts Tagged ‘Cameroon’

Women Bought and Sold

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

El diario

The premier Spanish-language newspaper “El Diario” turns to Catholic Charities Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services C. Mario Russell for regular updates on immigration reform.

Learn this week in El Diario – and below — about the grotesque reality of human trafficking.

By C. Mario Russell

March is filled with days that should be considered so much more than Hallmark holidays.  It has been designated as Women’s History Month; March 8th celebrated International Women’s Day and March 25th is marked as an International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery. These are important dates designed to recognize the woman for her profound place in the human community and to remember in solidarity the deep wounds she bears at the hands of that community.

Yet these wounds continue, particularly in the world of immigration.

For example, we soon will come upon another important marker: the one-year-anniversary of the mass abduction of 276 schoolgirls by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria when, according to Human Rights Watch, children were taken into captivity and sold into marriage, forced to convert from their religion, and made to endure physical and psychological abuse, forced labor, and rape.

Unfortunately, there are other examples as well that are far too close to home. Evelyn, 21, a top ranked student in her native country, was lured from Cameroon into the U.S. by a rich Maryland couple who promised her a bright future and a top-rate education. Instead, she was given no education and forced into servitude for the wealthy couple. And just this January 2015, Cristina Andres pleaded guilty to two counts of commercial sex trafficking. She was prosecuted for recruiting two girls, ages 13 and 17 at the time, with promises of a job in a Nashville restaurant. Instead, she used physical force and threats against the victims and their families to keep the girls in brothels in Memphis and Nashville.

The market for buying and selling of humans is sophisticated and robust, and only occasionally do publicized scenes like these force us to enter into its grotesque and brutal reality.

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Torture Survivor Rebuilds Life

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Angel Franco/The New York Times Angele Nogue and her son Brandon, 9.

A once-successful business person who ran a multi-million dollar interior design firm in Cameroon, Angele Nogue was stripped of nearly all she possessed.  She lost it all, she said, in retaliation for caring for orphans and organizing marches that protested their increasing numbers caused by the country’s chaotic dictatorial policies.

Today an asylee and participant in NYU/Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture program, Ms. Nogue lost the business she built.  She lost her home and homeland.  Worst of all, she lost friends murdered by the government.

When Ms. Nogue tries to describe those who, unlike her, were unable to escape, survivor’s guilt leaves her sobbing.

Catholic Charities Refugee Social Services Program is helping Ms. Nogue rebuild her life.  It provides her with counseling, social service support and job-readiness and placement services.  Catholic Charities also provided her with metro cards to attend job interviews.  And it provides her family with coats, clothes and essential housewares through its St. Nicholas program and food through its pantries and holiday programs.

She and her children currently live in a shelter.  Her Catholic Charities case manager is helping the family find permanent housing and will provide further support when they move into their new home.

Now feeling stronger, Ms. Nogue has begun studying to become a registered nurse at Hostos Community College.

Read Ms. Nogue’s profile in The New York Times.

The Power of Love Turns Life Around

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

When Patrice Mbekeli first came to Catholic Charities he had just escaped torture in his native Cameroon, was penniless and slept on subway cars. After the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement staff teamed up with the New York Times Neediest Cases campaign to publicize his plight, Patrice was offered work, a home and a ticket to his family’s future.

Last month, Patrice wrote Catholic Charities to let us know that he is on track to receive his PhD. as a pharmacist. “I am the pure product of your love and commitment,” he wrote. “Only the power of love can completely turn around a life as it happened to mine.”

Read more about how, with your help, Catholic Charities teams up with the New York Times Neediest Cases Campaign and helps turn lives around.