TALITHA KUM: First Asia Policy Conference on Human Trafficking

TALITHA KUM: First Asia Policy Conference on Human Trafficking

 Hua Hin (Thailand).  "Talitha Kum", the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Trafficking in Persons organized the First Asia Policy Conference on trafficking from November 10-14 at the Salesian Retreat House at Hua Hin in Thailand.

"Talitha Kum", the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Trafficking in Persons was born in the heart of UISG (International Union of Superiors General) in the area of a project managed in collaboration with OIM (International Organization for Migrations).  It is financed by the Government of the United States, Office of Population, Refugees, and Migration.  The objective is to share and optimize resources possessed by Religious Life in favour of interventions of prevention, sensitization, and condemnation of human trafficking, and the protection and assistance of victims and vulnerable persons.

The word “trafficking” recalls the story of slaves, their sea voyages to one continent or another, and its abolition at the beginning of the 1800.  The reality is that many forms of slavery are still present today.  Millions of men, women, and children are sold like objects, forced to work gratis or for a minimum wage, and they are at the complete mercy of their “work providers”.  Women are dragged into prostitution.  Children are bought and sold from one country to another and  men are forced to work without any rights for large farm enterprises.   It is a slavery of our times that threatens the freedom of millions of individuals.  It is enough to think that human trafficking is one of the most profitable activities of criminal organizations, second only in regard to drug dealing.  In effect, the data of the United Nations on international Human Trafficking confirmed this sad primacy.  It is estimated that from 800 thousand to two million persons are trafficked each year, with a total today of 27 million people in this state of modern slavery.  Most of these persons are sold for sexual exploitation (58%).  Others are in forced labour (36%), and still others are in the hands of criminal organizations for organ trafficking.  Nine out of ten victims are women and children and of these, one out of three comes from Southeast Asia.  (for Statistics, cfr. UNODC Global TIP Report 2012)

Forty five representatives of the Network of Talitha Kum in Asia-Pacific participated.  They are already involved in work against trafficking in their respective areas (where there is the highest incidence of trafficking in the whole world): APWRATH (Asia-Pacific Women Religious Against Trafficking in Humans): Indonesia, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans), and AMRAT (Asian Movement of Religious Against Trafficking in Persons): India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka.  Also present were five lay collaborators: 1 from Hong Kong, 1 from Thailand and 3 from the Philippines.

The objectives of the encounter were:  to study the implementation of laws and policies; identify issues and gaps; learn advocacy strategies; and set future direction for the group through the elaboration of a Policy Advocacy Agenda.

Sr. Estrella Castalone FMA, International Coordinator for Talitha Kum, in her opening message helped the group reflect on Mark’s passage (5: 41):  “Talitha Kum!  Little girl, I say rise!”  Let us  imitate Jesus by giving a hand to those affected by human trafficking and take courage in carrying out our delicate mission.  This is in fact the commitment of the Talitha Kum Network, to offer support, protection, and assistance to all the victims of human trafficking.”

She underlined that the Holy Father himself supports this mission.  In fact, in his first Urbi et Orbi message on Easter Sunday, the Pope said, “Peace to the whole world still so divided by the greed of those who seek easy profits, wounded by egoism that threatens human life and the family, egoism that continues human trafficking, the most extensive slavery in this twenty-first century.  Human trafficking is precisely the most extensive in this twenty-first century!”

Sr. Estrella then focused on the theme of trafficking that touches the life of many persons: men, women and children, but above all women and children for sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced labour or the sale of organs.  Those who are trafficked become objects, they cease to be persons created in the image and likeness of God.  This is really disturbing especially for us pastoral workers. It is a strong call to a commitment to stop this modern day slavery.

The lawyer, Cristina Sevilla, Ms. Jean Enriquez, and Ms. Amihan Abueva assisted in the reflection through a dialogue-debate, group work, and the elaboration of the Policy Advocacy Agenda on the struggle against human trafficking.  They defined fundamental objectives and strategies, policy guidelines and legislation in the areas of protection, prevention, rehabilitation, and reintegration.

With the final approval of all the assembly members the Policy Agenda defined until 2015 has for its objectives to: 

  1. reinforce the network by intensifying coordination, communication, sharing of information and resources;
  2. create awareness, sensitization, motivate the action of consecrated persons, in particular the Superiors of Congregations, the Episcopal Conferences, Church leaders, dioceses and local parish communities, as well as members of civil society against human trafficking and every other form of slavery;
  3. build partnerships to reinforce prevention, protection, and penal action to discourage the supply and the demand that favours all forms of human trafficking;
  4. guarantee the protection of victims, encourage and give hope, love, care and offer assistance in places of refuge so that they may be safe; work in close collaboration with various professionals, organizations, families, community and state agencies for the effective healing, recovery and reintegration of the survivors. 


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3 comment
24/03/2014 17:04:00 - Catherine Dunne

I am delighted to read of the tremendous efforts made to curb Human Trafficking. I work in Ireland and we likewise need to alert people to what is happening. Our group is APT Act to prevent Trafficking. We focus on schools and colleges and parishes and now to upgrade our website. aptireland.org We would love to link with other efforts and share resources. Do visit our website and share. Every blessing Catherine

01/12/2013 00:18:59 - irmã maria Rita Zampirili

Fico feliz de ver a articulação de religosas, neste campo missionário. No Brasil, participamos recentemente do Encontro Nacional da Rede Um Grito pela Vida, em Brasília, de 15 a 17 de novembro 2013, com a participação da Rede Kawsai, Rama, Renate e Talitakum além de 62 participantes representação das redes dos núcleos da Conferência dos Religiosos do Brasil (CRB).Tivemos a alegria também de sermos 04 FMA: 02 da Inspetoria do Recife, 01 da Inspetoria de BH e eu da INSP/RJ. O encontro foi um tempo forte de partilha das ações realizadas nos núcleos, projeção da caminhada, onde coletivamente somamos forças para o enfrentamento ao tráfico humano.

30/11/2013 10:32:00 - Sr.Hilda Braganza FMA (INB)

Working to irradiate Human Trafficking is the need of the hour for us FMA. Helping many young people to prevent themselves from falling into prey to this inhuman cruel act of some insensitive and wicked people could save many lives from danger. It is disappointing to know that so many young people are caught up in this most human act of injustice to life in our modern world. Young people caught up in this find themselves without hope for the future. I have heard of some incidences what horrible risks have they have to face. I hope our congregation will go more into this work for help our young people.

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