Network of religious sisters combats human trafficking

Posted by Siobhan O'Neill Meluso
Thursday 16, April 2015 | Category:   Catholic culture,Mission & Evangelization
 "Human trafficking is not something that you recognize quickly and this is why
we have to speak up about it. We have to inform the world that these are
people who need help," Comboni Missionary Sister Gabriella Bottani said.

Comboni Missionary Sister Gabriella Bottani was recently appointed coordinator of Talitha Kum, a project of the Unión Internacional de Superioras Generales (International Union of Superior Generals) and the Rome-based international network of religious sisters working to end human trafficking.

In a Global Sisters Report interview, Bottani shared the staggering statistics of moderm-day human trafficking: "Between 800,000 to 2 million people are trafficked each year, 80 percent of whom are women and girls. Human trafficking facilitates sexual exploitation, forced labor, domestic servitude; it leads to organ removal and forced marriage."

Talitha Kum's network is "now present in 81 countries and are more than 1,000 sisters strong. At first [in the early 2000s], the idea was to train sisters and have them become leaders in this area—and to go from there to create a movement. So the first step was to organize training programs in different countries. And the first goal was to inform and train sisters as to what human trafficking is. The second goal was to organize a network. In 2009, there was an international meeting that called all of the programs together. And it was decided to form this network, which was called Talitha Kum," Bottani said.

The continued goal of Talitha Kum is to "strengthen our identity and to help the local networks improve their capacity to confront human trafficking."

"We are in a very positive place with the engagement of Pope Francis and his commitment against human trafficking. I think he is helping the church to confront and to see this problem," Bottani said.

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