Africa: Religious Sisters Posing As Prostitutes to Save Sex Slaves Eye Expansion


Thomson Reuters Foundation

Africa: Religious Sisters Posing As Prostitutes to Save Sex Slaves Eye Expansion

By Ellen Wulfhorst | Thomson Reuters Foundation (London) | London, 18 November 2015

An army of religious sisters who rescue victims of human trafficking by posing as prostitutes to infiltrate brothels and buying children being sold into slavery, is expanding to 140 countries, its chairman said on Wednesday.

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 the demand for efforts to combat trafficking and slavery was rising globally.

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.

Thomson Reuters Foundation (London) chair“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,” said Studzinski, a vice chairman of U.S. investment bank The Blackstone Group.

“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.

Detailing some cases involving trafficking and slavery, Studzinski said the treatment of some victims was horrific.

He told of one woman enslaved as a prostitute who was locked up for a week without food, forced to eat own her faeces, when she failed to have sex with a target of 12 clients a day.

In another extreme case, one woman was forced to have sex with a group of 10 men at the same time.

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.

He said Talitha Kum, which translated from Aramaic means arise child, was now being hired by companies to see what is going on with respect to the supply chain and expanding globally would help address this issue.

“You can’t generalize about trafficking and slavery as no two countries are the same,” Studzinski said.

Mafrwestafrica – Lettre du 20 novembre 2015


Mafrwestafrica 02Aujourd’hui, les Missionnaires d’Afrique de l’Ouest vous proposent de visiter de nouvelles pages sur leur site www.mafrwestafrica.net :

Dans la rubrique « Actualités » :

«  Serment et diaconat à Merrivale » la carte d’invitation à l’engagement définitif et au diaconat de six candidats Missionnaires d’Afrique. (lire la suite)

« Attentats de Paris, 13 novembre 2015 » un sujet inépuisable il est vrai, et toujours en cours, mais auquel nous nous devions de faire allusion. (lire la suite)

« Lettre de Laghouat Ghardaia » du mois de novembre 2015, texte envoyé par Mgr Claude Rault, Missionnaire d’Afrique. (lire la suite)

Dans la rubrique « Témoignages » :

« Pèlerinage aux saints d’Afrique en Suisse » un article des Pères Claude Maillard et Pierre Féderlé. Ce pèlerinage existe depuis treize ans. (lire la suite)

« Abidjan, vers le chapitre ». Comment les étudiants de 4ème étape et leur staff se préparent au chapitre général qui aura lieu en mai 2016. (lire la suite)

« Monseigneur Livinhac, premier supérieur général », un texte du Père Peter Mateso, Missionnaire d’Afrique congolais, formateur à Abidjan. (lire la suite)

Dans la rubrique « Dialogue interreligieux » :

« Lutter contre la radicalisation religieuse » : une ligne politique au Sénégal, une sensibilisation au Pakistan, la nécessité de bien comprendre l’Islam. (lire la suite)

Dans la rubrique « Justice et Paix » :

« Relever le défi environnemental » ce sont les pauvres les premières victimes du dérèglement climatique, contre lequel il est essentiel de lutter « ensemble » (lire la suite)

« Prise d’otages à Bamako » des informations prises sur le site de Radio France Internationale, en ce 20 novembre 2015 (lire la suite)

Dans la rubrique « Vu au sud, vu du sud » :

« Paludisme et médicaments génériques » un article qui souligne le fait que peu de personnes connaissent l’existence de ce genre de médicaments, qui leur coûteraient bien moins cher. (lire la suite)