Sister Gabriella Bottani, 55, Italian Comboni missionary and international coordinator of the Global Network for Consecrated Life against Human Trafficking (Talitha Kum), received the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic from the country’s President, Sergio Mattarella, “for the total dedication with which she has been engaged for years in the prevention, sensitization and fight against human trafficking,” stated a Talitha Kum press release.
The religious was part of a group of 32 Italian citizens “who distinguished themselves for acts of heroism, for their solidary engagement, for aid to international cooperation, for the protection of minors, the promotion of culture and legality, for activities in favor of social cohesion, of integration, of research and protection of the environment.”
Sister Gabriella said that it was “a great surprise” for her. “I received the news at a moment that I keep for prayer and silence, which is for me the source of this engagement, which I continue,” she said. “Faith in Christ has always sustained me and continues to do so.”
The Sister hopes to share this recompense with other persons that fight against trafficking. “I would like to dedicate this recognition to numerous persons, Religious and non-Religious, Catholics and those of other Confessions, who dedicate their life daily to the building of a better world.”
“This recognition is a credit for all our efforts to surmount the divisions, the ghettos and the closed eyes: it’s an invitation to re-join the forces that concentrate on the dignity of the person and of life,” she stressed.
When she began “to work more systematically in Brazil against trafficking,” in 2007, she said she had “realized that there are two things on which we must work.” “The first is to promote concrete actions on the territory for the prevention, reception, and assistance to survivors, to communities and to families that suffered the violence of trafficking. And the second is to weave networks of solidarity and of trust to counter those that, as the traffickers, destroy important bonds for the person,” she explained.
“Talitha Kum represents all that for me, a project born in religious life and from religious life, but in collaboration with the lay world and with other Confessions. That opened new areas for me for growth,” affirmed the nun.
Gabriella Bottani received the TIP Report Hero prize (Heroes of the Fight against Human Trafficking) on June 20, 2019, in Washington, (United States).