It sounds like the plot of a Hollywood production: Nuns dressing up as prostitutes to infiltrate brothels and rescue woman and children from sexual abuse. But the organization of religious sisters called Talitha Kum, which translated from Aramaic means “arise child” (Mark 5:41), is real—and they’re expanding across the globe.
Talitha Kum, also known as the International Network of Consecrated Life Against Trafficking in Persons, is a network within the International Union of Superiors General which originates from a project implemented in collaboration with International Organization for Migration and funded by the U.S. Government’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
John Studzinski, an investment banker and philanthropist who chairs Talitha Kum, said the network of 1,100 sisters currently operates in about 80 countries but is expanding to apply their unusual approach to 140 countries:
Studzinski said the religious sisters working to combat trafficking would go to all lengths to rescue women, often dressing up as prostitutes and going out on the street to integrate themselves into brothels.
“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,” he said, adding that the low-key group preferred to focus on their rescue work rather than promotion.
“They work in brothels. No one knows they are there.”
The sisters were also proactive on trying to save children being sold into slavery by their parents, setting up a network of homes in Africa as well as in the Philippines, Brazil and India to shelter such children.
He said the religious sisters of Talitha Kum raised money to purchase these 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,” he said.
Studzinski said the network of religious sisters, that was in the process of expanding, also targeted slavery in the supply chain with sisters shedding their habits and working alongside locals for as little as 2 U.S. cents an hour to uncover abuses.
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(Via: Gene Veith)