AFRICA/ZAMBIA - On the feast day of St. Josephine Bakhita: Sisters of the “Talitha Kum” project celebrate World Day Against Human Trafficking

Friday, 9 February 2024 human trafficking   nuns  

Lusaka (Agenzia Fides) - Talitha Kum Zambia (TAKUZA) celebrated yesterday, February 8, World Day against Human Trafficking, on the feast day of Saint Josephine Bakhita, patron saint of victims of modern slavery and human trafficking The TAKUZA project was launched in 2021 by three religious sisters: Sister Kayula Lesa from the Missionaries of Charity, Sister Mutinta Simaanza from the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and Sister Veronica Ramotse from the Congregation of the Servants of Mary Immaculate. The three nuns were among 35 participants in the 2020 course promoted by Talitha Kum International to form national and regional networks worldwide to combat human trafficking. “Talitha Kum” was founded in 2009 at the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) and promotes collaboration between networks organized at national, regional and continental levels to combat human trafficking and exploitation and to actively support victims, survivors and those at risk. TAKUZA formally began operating in May 2022. It now has three full-time employees nationwide and outreach groups in 11 Catholic dioceses. The Project is currently being implemented by the Missionaries of Charity. Zambia is a hotspot for human trafficking in southern Africa, particularly for migrants from Ethiopia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and other countries seeking employment opportunities in richer countries such as Namibia and South Africa. The region has an agreement on the free movement of people and goods under the Southern African Development Community (SADC), making it easy for traffickers to smuggle people across borders. The human trafficking cartels operating in Zambia exploit women and children from neighboring countries to turn them into forced labor or to bring women into prostitution. Rwandan women in particular are the targets. They are lured to Zambia with the promise of refugee status and economic benefits. Eventually they become sex slaves and are held against their will. Traffickers threaten to turn illegal immigrants over to immigration authorities if they refuse to do as they are told. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 9/2/2024)