Talitha Kum’s Call to Action is addressed to Sisters, to the Catholic Church and religious leaders of other religious or spiritual traditions, to non-believers, to allies, friends and all people of goodwill who share our vision of a world free from human trafficking and exploitation. In particular, this Call to Action wishes to reach out to global governance stakeholders including states, international organizations, non-state actors such as civil society groups, private sector organizations and academic institutions, and all those who have a role to play in the tireless effort towards the eradication of human trafficking and exploitation.
Drawing upon the insights of Talitha Kum networks and members working in the field, and on the Final Declaration adopted on the 27th of September 2019 marking the 10th anniversary of Talitha Kum, this Call to Action is shaped around four main objectives:
- to care for victims of human trafficking and exploitation, and for people at risk;
- to heal physical, psychosocial and spiritual wounds;
- to empower victims and survivors, as well as individuals at risk, by amplifying their voices;
- to restore human dignity by promoting access to justice.
In order to achieve these objectives, Talitha Kum wishes to invite stakeholders to join forces in the following key areas of engagement, which are particularly impactful at the level of individuals, communities and systems.
Ensuring access to justice and long-term, state-supported psychosocial and health assistance, as well as work and residence permits for victims in destination countries.
“Victims are the first in need of rehabilitation and reintegration in society.” “All of society is called to grow in this awareness, especially with regard to national and international legislation, in order to be able to ensure that traffickers be brought to justice and their unjust earnings redirected for the rehabilitation of victims.”
Moreover, “to be recognized as a victim is hard work. When assisting victims in dealing with bureaucratic legal procedures, Sisters are usually confronted with the stumbling block of proving that trafficked persons are not guilty of other crimes, such as violating immigration laws, labour laws, family laws or other criminal code provisions. In addition, victims usually have to prove that as trafficked persons they did not consent to their exploitation, which can often be challenging”.Talitha Kum believes that victims should be treated with compassion, as well as full respect and recognition of their dignity.
To this end, the network calls in particular on global governance stakeholders for:
- the provision of state-supported legal services to trafficked persons, and appropriate measures to guarantee their safety and the safety of those assisting them;
- the application of the non-punishment clause to presumed and de facto victims for crimes committed as a consequence or in the course of being trafficked;
- the compensation of damages;
- access to effective, long-term, state-supported psychosocial and health assistance, as well as residence and employment permits and opportunities, as key for victims to regain self-worth, confidence and self-esteem, and thus avoid re-victimization;
- trafficker-centered investigation and prosecution strategies, including in challenging environments such as the World Wide Web and social media, and with the use of new tools such as cryptocurrencies;
- the promotion of well-tailored forms of procedural, restorative and transitional justice that guarantee the healing process of victims and survivors.
Empowering women and girls, as well as their families and communities.
Talitha Kum is determined to counteract the power differential between men and women in all sectors – economic, social, familial, political, cultural and religious – as a key factor contributing to the objectification and denigration of women and to the subsequent culture of violence, a heinous expression of which is human trafficking for sexual exploitation, labour exploitation and other forms of exploitation.
To this end, Talitha Kum calls in particular on global governance stakeholders for measures to:
- improve awareness of and promote action to eliminate gendered power imbalances, taking into account intersections between gender and other social categories such as ethnic origin, social status and disability, and the cumulative effects produced by multiple forms of discrimination;
- ensure equal access to quality education, vocational training and job opportunities for girls and women, particularly for survivors of human trafficking and those at risk of being trafficked;
- guarantee equal labour rights for women, particularly in female-dominated sectors more prone to exploitation such as domestic and care work, agriculture, food processing and packaging, tourism and hospitality.
Supporting safe and legal migration pathways, including in cases of forced displacement.
Talitha Kum recognizes that legal migration pathways have shrunk globally, including in cases of forced displacement, reducing the possibility for individuals to travel through safe channels. Individuals are increasingly prevented from accessing opportunities for human security and human development abroad, which they seek because of – among other factors – protracted conflicts, poverty, instability, disasters, lack of socioeconomic opportunity, and human rights violations. This approach – often paired with political rhetoric fomenting hate, racism and xenophobia – hinders the safety, dignity, human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, including victims of trafficking and other vulnerable groups.
To promote effective and legal migration pathways, Talitha Kum calls in particular on global governance stakeholders for measures towards:
- the early detection of situations of exploitation suffered by migrants, including asylum seekers, refugees and displaced persons;
- the promotion of awareness-raising activities aimed at portraying the risks of abuse, violence and exploitation along migration pathways and in destination countries;
- the establishment of safe and legal pathways for migration, with special attention to women and girls, including in situations of forced displacement;
- the fair recruitment and treatment of migrant workers in the labour market, regardless of their legal status, with special attention to women and girls.
In doing so, Talitha Kum supports Pope Francis’ invitation to welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants, refugees and internally displaced people, in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of human traffickers.
Promoting an economy of care and solidarity.
Talitha Kum embraces Pope Francis’ message for the 7th International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking (February 8th, 2021):
“An economy without human trafficking is an economy of care. Care can be understood as taking care of people and nature, offering products and services for the growth of the common good. An economy that cares for work, creating employment opportunities that do not exploit workers through degrading working conditions and grueling hours.”
In doing so, Talitha Kum recognizes that increasing socioeconomic disparities provide fertile grounds for human trafficking to flourish, and strives towards a long-term, systemic transformation from an economy of trafficking to an economy of care and solidarity. The latter must also favour sustainable and integral development, in light of the environmental crisis which affects our common home, the Earth.
Therefore, the network calls in particular on global governance stakeholders for:
- Ethical and responsible business and consumption models that are based on global value chains unrelated to human trafficking and exploitation, and that promote human dignity and environmental sustainability, including action aimed at tackling climate change;
- the socioeconomic integration and inclusion of survivors of human trafficking and individuals at risk.