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Sister Sandra Delgado OP

In a world where women and girls still live in slavery. “Talitha Koum” – “Arise little girl” – are such meaningful words. These are the words that bring life to women today. They are words that help women move out slavery.

Talitha Koum is the name of an international network of consecrated women and men, sponsored by the international organizations of Superiors General, working together against trafficking of all persons: women, girls, boys, and men. This network began in 2009 from the shared desire to coordinate and strengthen the already existing activities against trafficking undertaken by consecrated women and men across 5 continents: Africa, Asia, America (which means north and south) Europe and Oceania. Pope Francis said to the participants of the 2014 International Conference on Combatting Human Trafficking, “Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ.”

This work in our own country began years ago and continues today. We have tended to focus on trafficking that we know occurs through hotels. What began with women religious has become a national awareness. LCWR, DSC and other organizations of religious will not use a hotel if they have not signed the anti-trafficking agreement. There have been occasions that we have gone to a hotel that may be more costly, because the hotel with the best price would not sign the agreement.

Today you see in many public restrooms, signs and information with the National Human Trafficking Hotline 800 number where persons can safely call for help. These actions are the direct result of the work begun by women religious.

Globally, women and men religious are being formed through efforts of the international Union of Superiors General. They are learning to recognize persons living in trafficking situations and how to assist them. They are learning how to work with authorities, with social networks, and various services that can protect the persons and help them get out of their situations. It is hard, dangerous work and very rewarding. It is the work of reaching out our hand as Jesus did and saying Talitha Koum, arise child of God and live.

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