Talitha Kum group.

The Second General Assembly of Talitha Kum was held at Sacrofano, outside Rome, from 18-24 May 2024. There were 153 delegates, from 71 countries, representing the 60 Talitha Kum networks committed to ending human trafficking on all continents. Two Josephite Sisters formed part of the Talitha Kum Oceania Region Delegation – Sr Annette Arnold, the Talitha Kum Oceania Regional Coordinator and Board member of ACRATH and Sr Margaret Ng, ACRATH member and Josephite Counter-Trafficking Project Coordinator.

The Assembly began on Pentecost Sunday, and it was truly a gathering of many languages and peoples. The process of engagement was Conversations in the Spirit (the deep listening synodal process) which resulted in the Assembly Declaration, highlighting three priorities that will direct the work globally for the coming five years:

  1. Systemic change in the face of new vulnerabilities
  2. Holistic, survivor-centred approach
  3. Broadening collaboration and partnership

The presence at the Assembly of survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery, was pivotal in moving the work forward.

Sr Annette said there were many, many moments that moved her to reflection and awe but one in particular was the morning the delegates from the Middle East led the Assembly in prayer. They were a small group of women, but dynamic, and told of the horrors of their region of Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria, one torn apart by war and conflict. As the prayer ended, delegates just started standing up — it was such a tangible and powerful witness to solidarity! The Middle East Network, Wells of Hope, brings together Christian and Muslim women in the fight against human trafficking.

For Sr Margaret, the Assembly was a privilege to share in the experiences of survivors, delegates and Youth Ambassadors from all over the world.  Everyone was there to continue to combat the heinous crime of human trafficking.

Sr Margaret commented that during the deliberations, “delegates looked at the present reality of poverty, wars and conflicts, the impact of climate change and global warming and the ensuing displacement of people – issues that have contributed to the increase in human trafficking. It was sobering to learn that 60% of Human Trafficking victims are from Asia.

“The experience of being with members of the International Network of Talitha Kum was a great reminder that we are all members of the global village. One of the recommendations was for the setting up of an International Directory so that anyone leaving the country of origin to work can have a safe contact at the country of destination.”

For both Sisters, listening to the personal sharing of survivors of human trafficking and to the Youth Ambassadors, stirred great hope as there was a great spirit of ‘working together’. The courage, tenacity and resilience of the survivors was awe inspiring and the continued listening is pivotal to bring about change and transformation.

The task at hand is monumental but this Talitha Kum international network is such a powerful tool and a witness to what can happen when people enter into deep listening and work together.

You’re invited to join the ACRATH Network here.

To learn more, check out some of the General Assembly links: