ASIA/PHILIPPINES – In one year, a network of Catholic nuns rescued 26,000 women from human trafficking in Asia
Manila (Agenzia Fides) – As many as 26,065 women from Asia were detained and rescued from human trafficking in 2021 by “Talitha Kum”, a Federation of Catholic nuns dedicated to fighting and eradicating human trafficking.
“Prevention is a priority of Asian networks. It is promoted through training and awareness-raising campaigns in schools, parishes, and local communities, targeting primarily women, youth, religion, tribal community, and migrant workers ”, said Sr. Abby Avelino, director of Talitha Kum Asia.
According to him, the issue of human trafficking in Asia has been exacerbated by the current socio-economic situation. Many countries in Asia are facing severe economic crisis due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and political conflicts such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.
“A crisis like this is increasing the number of people becoming vulnerable to trafficking, particularly women, girls, youth, migrants, and refugees. The dominant form of domestic and international human trafficking is forced labor, forced marriage. and sexual exploitation “, the nun. said in a report by Talitha Kum sent to Fides.
“As economic problems become more complex, more vulnerable people are trapped in exploitation to survive. One area of entrapment is cyber-based trafficking and Online Sexual Exploitation of Children (OSEC),” said Sr Avelino, a member. of the Maryknoll congregation.
Talitha Kum Asia has continued its prevention campaigns that have moved online since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure continued sharing of information about anti-trafficking.
Talitha Kum’s networks in Asia host monthly webinars on human trafficking to strengthen prevention, protection, capacity building, and networking, as well as collaboration, and advocacy.
The impact of this program has given greater visibility to Talitha Kum’s networks. Talitha Kum Bangladesh and Talitha Kum Vietnam were established in 2021 as a result of the growing visibility of their work.
“We have organized activities using the Sufficiency Economy Program, which helps women and youth in villages and mountainous areas manage natural food resources, such as medicinal plants and vegetables found in local forests.This program has had a satisfying impact on local communities in supporting and promoting capacity building, ”Sr Avelino said.
“We launched the Talitha Kum Anti-Trafficking Youth Ambassadors program in 2021 to engage more young people with the vision and mission of Talitha Kum. The young women and men, representing ten countries in Asia, are trained to be ambassadors of youth against trafficking with their peers at the grassroots level, ”she remarks.
These trained youth leaders developed their skills in promoting Talitha Kum’s grassroots work in creative and innovative ways in coordinating Sisters in networks. As a result of this program, the awareness of many young people on trafficking issues grew as they participated in various levels of Talitha Kum’s anti -human trafficking campaigns.
Talitha Kum is a Rome -based international network of religious sisters dedicated to combating and eradicating human trafficking. It was founded by the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).
Talitha Kum Asia partners with 65 Catholic organizations, 56 NGOs, 18 national organizations and 42 international government agencies. In the Asian region, Talitha Kum has 3521 members from 205 women religious congregations in 20 countries.
In 2021, Talitha Kum Asia provided care and support to 3972 victims of human trafficking. It organized 3909 trainings and workshops. (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 15/7/2022)