Catholic nuns rescue 26,000 women from human trafficking

nuns rescued women

In 2021, Talitha Kum, a federation of Catholic nuns, rescued more than 26,000 women in Asia from human trafficking.

Talitha Kum is a Rome-based international network of religious sisters founded by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG). Their networks are active in five continents with the objective of ending human trafficking.

“Prevention was the Asian networks’ priority”, said Sr Abby Avelino, director of Talitha Kum Asia.

According to Avelino, the issue of human trafficking in Asia has been aggravated by the current socio-economic situation. Many countries in Asia face severe economic crises due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and political conflicts such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

“Crises like these increase the number of people who become vulnerable to trafficking, particularly women, girls, young people, migrants and refugees. The predominant forms of domestic and international human trafficking are forced labour, forced marriage and sexual exploitation”, said Sr Avelino.

The initiative by Talitha Kum Asia during Covid-19 was to increase its online presence. By hosting monthly webinars, it strengthened the information sharing of anti-trafficking prevention, protection and networking.

“We have organised activities using the Sufficiency Economy Programme, helping women and young people in villages and mountainous areas to manage natural food resources such as herbs and vegetables that can be found in the local forests. This programme has had a satisfying impact on the local community in supporting and promoting capacity building,” Sr Avelino notes.

“We launched the Talitha Kum Anti-Trafficking Youth Ambassadors programme in 2021 to engage more young people with the vision and mission of Talitha Kum. Young women and men representing ten countries in Asia were trained to be anti-trafficking youth ambassadors among their peers at the grassroots level,” she remarks.

The outcome of this programme is the growing visibility of Talitha Kum network, especially among young people. Talitha Kum Bangladesh and Talitha Kum Vietnam were established in 2021 as an outcome of the growing visibility of the work.

World leaders were also reminded at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Birmingham, England, on July 2-6 by US Rep. Chris Smith.

“Our commitment to preventing human trafficking, protecting and helping survivors reclaim their lives and prosecuting those who commit these horrific crimes must be strong, powerful and courageous,” he said.


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News category: Palmerston, World.

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