Talitha Kum will help Catholic leaders to combat the scourge of human trafficking across the country
Bangladesh is to step up its fight against human trafficking after joining forces with a Vatican-based group.
The inauguration program of the Talitha Kum international anti-trafficking network in Bangladesh was held at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh Centre in Dhaka on Feb. 8.
The 42 participants included Bishop Gervas Rozario, Catholic leaders and religious congregation superiors. All dioceses of Bangladesh observed the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking on the same day.
St. Pope John Paul II classified Josephine Bakita as a saint and declared Feb. 8 as her feast day. In 2015, for the first time, the Catholic Church dedicated her birthday for international prayer and meditation for trafficked people.
In 2019, Pope Francis called on world leaders to take a firm stand against the abominable and heinous act of human trafficking.
The Justice and Peace Commission, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh and Talitha Kum jointly launched the program to work together all over Bangladesh.
Father Liton Hubert Gomes, the convener of the new group’s ad hoc committee, told UCA News that religious superiors were shocked to see the scenario of human trafficking and will help with money to operate the network. It will also work in partnership with similar organizations at home and abroad.
“We will work in all of the parishes in Bangladesh in awareness building, rescue, rehabilitation, training, primary shelters and other programs. This network is not only for Christians but for all people,” he said.
Talitha Kum aims to end human trafficking through collaborative initiatives focused around prevention, protection, social reintegration and rehabilitation of survivors, partnership and advocacy, promoting actions that affect the systemic causes.
According to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, about 13 million Bangladeshis have migrated abroad for employment since 1976. However, there are no statistics on how many have returned.
Women and human rights groups estimate 10,000 to 20,000 women and girls are trafficked from Bangladesh every year for commercial sexual exploitation and slave labor. They end up in countries including India, Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
However, Salesian Sister Josephine Rozario told UCA News that the new network is confident that it can overcome obstacles to tackling human trafficking placed by many influential people.