Nuns Are Dressing Up As Prostitutes To Rescue Victims Of Trafficking
This is an awesome story! An army of nuns has been dressing up as prostitutes for a few years now so they can rescue victims of human trafficking.
And it really is an army: 1,100 religious sisters who infiltrate brothels in order to rescue prostitutes is expanding its territory. They’ve already been active in 80 countries, but that number is about to expand to 140 countries.
John Studzinski, an investment banker and philanthropist who chairs Talitha Kum, the organization that is carrying out this work, said the network of over a thousand sisters currently operates in about 80 countries but the demand for efforts to combat trafficking and slavery was rising globally.
According to RNS, “the group, set up in 2004, estimates one percent of the world’s population is trafficked in some form, which translates into some 73 million people. Of those, 70 percent are women and half are aged 16 or younger.”
What Do We Know About Trafficking?
From Do Something Campaign:
- Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90.
- Trafficking primarily involves exploitation which comes in many forms, including: forcing victims into prostitution, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography.
- According to some estimates, approximately 80 percent of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19 percent involves labor exploitation.
- There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.
- According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year, of which 80 percent are female and half are children.
Enter Talitha Kum
The International Network of Consecrated Life Against Trafficking in Persons, or Talitha Kum, is based in Rome, Italy, and is a network within UISG, a Catholic organization whose goal, according to their website, is “to build bridges that span distances, borders and boundaries in order to create ways for members to be in communication, in community and in communion.” The website goes on to explain that the purpose of UISG is “to promote an understanding of religious life.”
John Studzinski is an investment banker and philanthropist who chairs Talitha Kum, which translates in Aramaic to “Arise, Child!” ”I’m not trying to be sensational but I’m trying to underscore the fact this is a world that has lost innocence … where dark forces are active,” he declared.
“These are problems caused by poverty and equality but it goes well beyond that,” he told the Trust Women Conference on women’s rights and trafficking hosted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Studzinski subsequently recounted the tale of a woman who was locked up for a week with no food and forced to eat her own feces when she didn’t match the target of having sex with 12 men each day. Another case involved a woman who was forced to have sex with a group of 10 men, all at the same time.
“These sisters do not trust anyone. They do not trust governments, they do not trust corporations, and they don’t trust the local police. In some cases they cannot trust male clergy,” Studzinski said.
Saving Children Being Sold Into Slavery
The Catholic nuns have also worked to save children being sold into slavery by their parents; they have set up a network of homes in Africa, the Philippines, Brazil and India in order to shelter such children.
“This is a new network of houses for children around the world who would otherwise be sold into slavery. It is shocking but it is real,” Studzinski said.
This is an amazing network of religious sisters, who are dedicating their lives to uncover abuses amongst young women. Even better, Talitha Kum is now being hired by companies to see what is going on with respect to the supply chain. These nuns are doing amazing work.