Pope Francis Greets Survivors Of Human Trafficking © Vatican Media

‘Talitha Kum’ Celebrates 10-Year Fight Against Human Trafficking

With a General Assembly in Rome

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From September 21-27, the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) will celebrate the 10th anniversary of its fight against human trafficking.

Eighty-six women delegates from 48 countries will take part in Talitha Kum’s general assembly, to present the work that the Sisters are carrying out in several countries, in the front line against slavery. In our time, this phenomenon affects at least 40 million people, 70% of whom are women and children [UN Doc, 2019].

UISG and Talitha Kum

The UISG is an international organization of Superiors General of Religious Congregations approved canonically. It’s an international forum where Superiors General can share their experiences, exchange information and be enriched by their experiences as leaders.

The UISG promotes Talitha Kum, the International Network of Consecrated Life against Human Trafficking, which connects on the Net consecrated men and women in 70 countries, fostering collaboration and exchange of information.

Talitha Kum was born in 2009 with the objective of coordinating and strengthening activities against trafficking, promoted by consecrated persons in five Continents. It is present in 92 countries with 44 national networks in five Continents: nine in Africa, 11 in Asia, 15 in America, seven in Europe and two in Oceania.

Ten Years, Ten Stories

Ten years and ten success stories, from that of Romanian Mihaela, obliged to prostitute herself and who today is studying Law to help those who, like her, have been victims of trafficking, to Colombian Paola, a FARC guerrilla fighter, with a past of forced labour and sexual abuse and today a businesswoman; to Thailander Somchai, enslaved in fishing boats and today a free man with a job.

Patricia Murray, UISG’s Executive Secretary, and Gabriella Bottani, Talitha Kum’s International Coordinator, will speak on the present state of the two organizations’ efforts in the world. The success stories and projects underway will be described by the nuns involved in the cause and survivors of trafficking, such as Blessing Okoedion, today a writer and cultural mediator.

A special prize will be conferred on 10 nuns, who in the last years have been outstanding for their commitment, offering decisive support to emergency networks in different countries.

Audience with the Pope

The Conference will be attended by numerous international experts, including Teresa Albano, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Bahija Jamal, Carlos Andres Perez and Sister Angela Reed, who will give a general picture of the phenomenon of trafficking and strong impetus to the preparation of guidelines for the networks ‘work in the coming years.

On September 26, the delegates will meet with Pope Francis in a private audience. The Holy Father has always supported and encouraged the nuns of Talitha Kum, to continue accompanying the survivors of human trafficking and to prevent the phenomenon, sensitizing institutions and citizens.

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Zelma Reis

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