Official group photo from Talitha Kum's General Assembly Official group photo from Talitha Kum's General Assembly  ((foto: M. Simionati/Talitha Kum)

Pope thanks sister-led anti-trafficking network for 15 years of work

In a message to Talitha Kum, Pope Francis urges the anti-trafficking network to continue to "stand by the victims, listen to them, help them get back on their feet".

By Joseph Tulloch

On Thursday morning, Pope Francis sent a message to Talitha Kum, an umbrella network of anti-trafficking initiatives led by religious sisters.

The network, which is in its 15th year, is currently holding its General Assembly just outside Rome.

15 years of struggle against trafficking

Pope Francis began his message by saying he was “very grateful” for Talitha Kum’s work.

Founded in 2009, the network is now active in more than 90 countries.

“We need to continue along the path of what you in Talitha Kum have always done,” the Pope said: “stand by the victims, listen to them, help them get back on their feet and together take action against trafficking.”

This is, he added, “no easy task”, but “during these past 15 years you have shown us, on every level, that it can be done.”

Trafficking: A ‘systemic’ evil

Human trafficking, the Pope stressed, is a “systemic evil”, which therefore requires a “systematic, multi-level approach”.

Trafficking is fuelled by conflict, climate change, and socio-economic disparities, and especially affects migrants and women, the Pope observed, adding that the criminal strategies behind it are “constantly evolving".

However, he stressed, “we must not be discouraged” - with “the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ and the dedication of so many”, the Pope said, we can succeed in eliminating trafficking.

Priorities for 2025-2030

Talitha Kum’s General Assembly has released a final document, released on Wednesday and available here.

It outlines three new priorities for the network over the 2025-2030 period: 1) Advocating systemic change in the face of new vulnerabilities; 2) A survivor-centred approach; and 3) Broadening the organisation’s collaboration and partnerships.

Drawing his letter to a close, Pope Francis said he would read the document “carefully” and “promote” it.

“Dear sisters and brothers,” he said, “I join you in thanking the Lord for all the work he has enabled you to do over these years ... I offer you and your communities my heartfelt blessing.”

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23 May 2024, 12:50