Talitha Kum: international religious network working to stop human trafficking

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Talitha Kum is an international network of consecrated people, working to stop human trafficking. They have 22 regional networks and operate within 76 countries. The aim of the organization is to promote and strengthen social, political and religious organizations to fight this global problem.  

According to a Talitha Kum 2016 report, human trafficking is one of 'the three biggest illegal markets.' Every year it “generates clandestine economies of $150 billion.” 

Coordinator for Talitha Kum
“We have trafficking for sexual exploitation, trafficking for forced labor, for force begging, force marriage. We have trafficking for domestic servitude.”

According to Sr. Gabriella, 70 percent of those trafficked are women; and 90 percent of them are used for sexual exploitation. Additionally, around 25-30 percent trafficked are young boys and girls. 

One of the many cases she has come across is from the USA. There, Sr. Gabriella found that 80 percent of the survivors assisted by the US Catholic Sisters Against Trafficking had been trafficked inside the USA. 

Coordinator for Talitha Kum
“A girl had been trafficked to obtain money to pay the drugs the family were consuming, and she was trafficked for sexual exploitation.”

According to Sr. Gabriella, globalization and neo-liberalism have helped normalize human exploitation and robbed people of their dignity. 

Coordinator for Talitha Kum
“The rich people are becoming richer and the poor people are becoming poorer. This is bringing people to such a situation of social vulnerability; and are making exploitation normal. However, exploitation is not normal.”

One of the many ways they try to help restore dignity to those who have suffered human trafficking is by offering therapeutic, medical, emotional and financial support. 

Every year on Feb. 8, Talitha Kum also promotes the “international day of prayer and awareness against trafficking in persons.” 

Last year, Pope Francis met with the participants for this day. There he denounced the hypocrisy of those shocked by the reality of trafficking; but who ultimately do nothing to help solve the problem.

“There are entrepreneurs who hire young people for slave labor, or take them. There are consumers who go to girls who are not free, but are slaves. Because when those girls return to their boss' house, we can call him the mafia boss, they must pay him an amount every day.”

Pope Francis, along with Talitha Kum, has repeatedly called for more to be done to stop human trafficking and protect the dignity of all human beings.  

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