Når noen dør og gribbene kommer fram
Hun forteller i et intervju til avisen Voice of America at den store ankomsten av flyktninger til Athen de siste årene har skapt grobunn for moderne slaveri. «Noen, spesielt unge gutter, er sårbare og åpne for tilbud,» sier hun, og forklarer at de ønsker å tjene penger som de kan sende hjem til familiene sine. Og slikt skaper et godt marked for menneskehandlerne. «Det er som når noen dør og gribbene kommer fram.»
Frelsesarmeen i Athen arbeider aktivt i kampen mot moderne slaveri. I tillegg til situasjoner med sårbare unge gutter, har de også et fokus på prostitusjon. Gjennom «Green light project» skaper de møteplasser der ofre for menneskehandel og jenter som jobber i sexindustrien kan komme innom og ta en kopp kaffe og en prat.
Maria Konti-Galinou kommer til Norge i november, og hun er en av ressurspersonene som er tilgjengelig i løpet av Global uke. Dersom du er interessert i besøk så ta kontakt med oss.
Maria Konti-Galinou was born in Greece to a Christian family. She studied and worked as a kindergarten teacher in Athens for five years, volunteering also with children with special needs, and engaging in evangelistic events and outreach activities in Greece.
With her husband Polis Pantelidis and their twin daughters Galini and Irini, Maria moved to England in 1993 where she began working with the international Christian organisation, The Salvation Army, one of the largest international charitable organisations, and Protestant Christian church, that provides emotional, physical and spiritual support to vulnerable groups in 128 countries around the world.
Maria trained at The William Booth Training College in London and also studied for a Counselling and Art Therapy course at the University of Bristol. For the next ten years, she worked as an officer (pastor) of The Salvation Army in Bristol, working also with addicts, high-security prison inmates and for the rehabilitation of trafficking victims. A key focus of her ministry and passion lies in the Anti-Human Trafficking outreach work which she has been involved in for over 15 years.
Armed with The Salvation Army’s training — its philosophy and aim being to empower those in need to be able to claim back their lives -and over a decade of experience in outreach in the UK, with her husband, in 2007 they were appointed to open The Salvation Army in Greece for the first time, in Thessaloniki.
There they distributed and organised food deliveries to the homeless and families in need, offering practical, emotional and spiritual support, alongside working with victims of trafficking. They started the Green Light Project in Thessaloniki, working with women in the red light district.
In 2012 Maria & Polis moved to Athens to establish the branch of The Salvation Army in Greece’s capital. Working with different churches, organisations, volunteers and embassies, they planted the work of The Salvation Army at a time when Greece was going through an economic and refugee crisis. The programmes established fall under two main streams:
- The ‘By Your Side’ initiative, an umbrella name for The Salvation Army’s community programmes; the Green Light Project in Athens, the refugee day center and warehouse
- The Christian Church holding Sunday services and weekly activities