The U.S. Department of Justice is in the process of organizing symposia with partners from Central and Eastern Europe, and with a number of Asian countries, in an attempt to reduce and, gradually, to eliminate trafficking in and sexual exploitation of women and children.
A Romanian delegation was invited to the July 13-17 session in Washington DC, in order to share their experiences in the field and to seek common ways of combating the growing problem. The delegation consisted of parliamentarians, lawyers, judges, prosecutors, and police officers. Also included were seven representatives of non-profit organizations that are involved in developing preventive programs and providing services to victims of sexual abuse. The St. Nina Quarterly Romanian correspondent, Presvytera Liliana Andronescu, was a representative of one of the non-profit organizations, the Ecumenical Forum of Christian Women in Romania.
Following the conference, Presvytera Andronescu traveled to Denver to visit St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church in Greenwood Village. She had been a member of St. Catherine's while she was studying non-profit management at Denver University five years ago. St. Catherine's in Greenwood Village, and St. Nicholas Church in Bucharest, Romania, where Liliana and her husband Father Grigore serve, have adopted each other as sister parishes.
Presvytera Andronescu made a presentation to the parish, reporting on the growth of the St. Macrina Shelter for Street Children, for which St. Catherine's Philoptochos and the parish council have made contributions. The shelter for homeless children, ages five through fourteen, houses twenty-five children nightly. It also offers a medical clinic and basic hygiene and health care to an additional thirty children daily. Since it's opening in 1996, the center has seen over six thousand children. They have developed referral networks in an attempt to place the children with adoptive or foster parents, but prefer to reunite the children with their parents when that is possible.
With the blessings and leadership of their priest, the Denver parishioners donated a total of one thousand dollars for Presvytera Liliana to take back with her for the children. The WOMEN's network also donated a TV/VCR for use in the shelter.