05/01/2017, 15.53
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Sister Trinh’s charity for Vietnamese fishermen held in Papua is truly heroic

Young Vietnamese fishermen are used in illegal fishing. Human trafficking is a danger. The nun obtained the repatriation of 87 of them, with another 18 to follow shortly. The local governor expressed his gratitude towards her, whilst the local diocese is proud of her work.

Alotau-Sideia (AsiaNews) – Sister Ma Theresa Trinh Vu Phuong, of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA), works unreservedly for the release and repatriation of many Vietnamese fishermen.

More than 130 are currently held in prison in Alotau, Giligili, and Bomana, Papua New Guinea, allegedly for illegal fishing in Milne Bay province, on the eastern tip of the country.

Sister Trinh is a Salesian nun from Vietnam. She works at a girls' school in the Diocese of Alitau-Sideia, Sideia Island. At the same time, she takes care of prisoners’ needs and acts as an interpreter and mediator for them in court proceedings. Equally, she communicates with their families at home, pays fines, and gets the papers and airline tickets needed for their return to Vietnam.

"It is very disturbing that young Vietnamese fishermen might be victims of human trafficking,” said Mgr Rolando Santos, bishop of Alotau-Sideia. “They are used by whoever exploits them to fish illegally, without a proper license, or any guarantee of protection and security from their employers.”

For the prelate, “There is an urgent humanitarian need to put an end to this. It is a serious abuse of the rights and dignity of these young men. Once caught, they are almost totally forgotten and abandoned. The rights of these young men must be respected and they must be afforded a better and dignified job."

Up to now, Sister Trinh has obtained the repatriation of 87 Vietnamese fishermen. Another 18 will follow shortly. Thanks to the courage of this little nun and the support of the Salesian community, everyone will soon be able to go back to their families.

The governor of Milne Bay province expressed his deep gratitude to Sister Trinh for the help she has provided to Vietnamese detainees. The diocese is also proud of her. Her charity is truly heroic and worthy of emulation.

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