9 May 2023
NEWS FROM THE NETWORK: Um Grito Pela Vida - Brazil
Talitha Kum Network, Um Grito Pela Vida - Brazil was born as a seed of life and hope in the face of the thousands of cases, reports and stories of people rescued from labor exploitation and human trafficking. The coordinator of the network's new local nucleus in Sobral, Sister Maria do Socorro Arruda Linhares - Filhas de Sant'Ana, shares about the birth of the new local nucleus at the beginning of this year, located in three dioceses of Brazil: Sobral, Itapipoca and Tianguá (SIT). These areas are domestically and internationally recognized routes for groups at risk of trafficking in persons: workers in agriculture and domestic work, unemployed youth, black populations, and other minorities such as transgender women.
“One of our activities that we consider powerful is the accompaniment of the LBTQIAP+ community, especially transgender women and transvestites, after situations of return or rescue from human trafficking, encouraging victims to return to school, access jobs, courses, participation in their own collectives and referrals to agencies to obtain their documentation. These initiatives are focused on mitigating the challenges faced by transsexual and transvestite women in our region, and even in Brazil, due to the large number of violence against this population. We highlight that Brazil is the first place in the world where this population dies the most and that Ceará is the Brazilian state where this population is the most killed.” Sr. Maria do Socorro Arruda Linhares - Filhas de Sant'Ana
The network told Talitha Kum International about the moving testimony of Gris, a transgender woman who is a victim of human trafficking from Ceará, Brazil. As a child, she was often bullied, receiving judgment from her peers and adults within her community. She wanted to wear summer dresses and her mother’s shoes, however, was always told no. At the age of 11, she decided to run away from home, to Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará. When she arrived, she faced a reality far different from the one she was told about. She was forced into sex work. She expressed in her interview the humiliation she felt and the tears she shed when she began this work.
“At the age of 17, I left Fortaleza and went to São Paulo to pursue my dream of undergoing transition surgery. I found a job and a hostel to stay in that was close to my new job and the owner seemed friendly. I began to feel some stability in my life. However, the reality of the hostel was completely different from what I had imagined. There were five girls living in one room. The women were forced to do sex work, and every night all the money they collected was taken from them. They had no food, little water, and an insufficient number of bathrooms. They were in private captivity, were sexually exploited, and suffered many forms of violence. Many women, including me, would end up in the hospital, but we were undocumented and the hospitals would take all our earnings, leaving us with only the possibility to return to the same life.” - Gris
One night, Gris told one of her old clients her situation, he gave her money and encouraged her to return home. Gris managed to escape. Currently, she has returned to school to finish her degree in the Faculty of Law. She is also an active part of “Um Grito Pela Vida” sharing her story in an attempt to prevent more transgender women from becoming victims of human trafficking, urging those who are going through similar experiences to “choose a more dignified life for a human being.”
“The importance of the work of the Um Grito Pela Vida is to reach out to the greatest possible number of people, to inform people that these things are happening, especially to inform people who think that we are involved in this life because we want to, that that’s not true.” Gris
By Sr Maria do Socorro Arruda Linhares - Filhas de Sant'Ana
Nucleus SIT - Um Grito Pela Vida - Brazi
IN THE WORLD
Talitha Kum Networks are active in the 5 continents coordinating the anti-trafficking efforts of 50 inter-congregational networks organized at the national-local level and 10 networks that include the joint coordination of several countries at the regional level.
* According to the information of the 2021 Talitha Kum Census
“When spider webs unite,
they can tie up a lion”