Today, 8 February 2019, the memorial feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita, marks the celebration of 10 years of Talitha Kum.
This celebration will culminate in September 2019 with the first International General Assembly of Talitha Kum. This year is a time of grace and life for consecrated women and men committed to working to eliminate all forms of human trafficking. We are called to thank God for the journey taken, and to acknowledge our commitment and collaborative actions against human trafficking. We are called to commit with courage and confidence to our present and future, and to understand the complexity of trafficking in this difficult time, where everything is moving and human rights are so inadequately protected.
Today, the Talitha Kum international network consists of 43 national networks – 8 in Africa, 10 in Asia, 16 in the Americas, 7 in Europe and 2 in Oceania.
These 43 national networks reach out to a further 34 countries where there are no national networks, engaging with an additional 150 active individuals or groups. In all, Talitha Kum is active in 77 countries on 5 continents! These figures demonstrate the extraordinary capacity of national networks to articulate and spread their work against human trafficking throughout the relevant country and around the world.
Ongoing formation and training has included 34 courses for the establishment of new networks, for a total of 136 days of training. A year long pilot course for the training of 22 Talitha Kum leaders concluded on this day, St Josephine Bakhita Day 2019. In all, 1023 women and men Religious have completed Talitha Kum training programs around the world. Numerous other training programs are offered by national networks at the local level.
Active members of Talitha Kum networks, mostly Religious Sisters, number over 2,000. They are engaged against trafficking at different levels:
Prevention: information and awareness-raising among risk groups and the general public, the development of educational programs, and training of community leaders;
Protection: support to people who have survived trafficking, from provision of houses of hospitality, welcome and safety, to social and work reintegration or assisted repatriation, when requested;
Elimination: of the chain of exploitation, from recruiters and exploiters through to consumers, through public awareness and the implementation of national counter trafficking frameworks and laws.
Partnership: promoting integrated and collaborative actions, between Talitha Kum networks and those who share ourcs mission;
Prayer: prayer strengthens us and impels us to action. Through prayer we are in solidarity with all those who suffer the violence of trafficking. We implore God to empower our commitment so that every form of slavery and exploitation will end.
Since 2015, Talitha Kum has been coordinating the international committee that promotes the World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Trafficking, which is celebrated on 8 February, the liturgical memorial of Saint Josephine Bakhita. On this day, we thank God for the ongoing mission of Talitha Kum – for all that has been and all that can be. We pray, through the intercession of St Josephine Bakhita for all who are trapped in slavery, that they may know freedom, for the perpetrators of human trafficking that they will find truth and renounce their ways, and for Talitha Kum and our Church, that we may tirelessly pursue justice and freedom for all who suffer the scourge of human trafficking and modern slavery.
Sr. Gabriella Bottani, Talitha Kum International Coordinator