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In this interview, Father Nicolas Dyemo, Missionary of Africa, and Sister Marie Chantal Nikiema, Sister of Jeanne Delanoue share the launch of the new network in Mali, and the main challenges in the fight against trafficking in persons in the country:

How was the network started in Mali?

Our first contacts with Talitha Kum date back to November 2021. During the General Assembly of the Union of Catholic Religious of Mali (URCM), Sister Marie Chantal Nikiema had contacted Father Nicolas Dyemo, head of the Justice and Peace and Integrity Commission of Creation - Interreligious Dialogue (JPIC-DI), to invite him to Talitha Kum first training in Burkina Faso. Since then contact has been established. 

During the February 2022 JPIC-DI workshop, we first tried to understand what Talitha Kum is (its goal, mission and vision and also the work methodology). We contacted Sister Yvonne Clémence Bambara, a regional representative for Africa, with her we planned the first meeting of seven members of the JPIC-DI Commission. 

Subsequently, Talitha Kum training was organized in Sikasso from December 9 to 16, 2022, with Sister Yvonne Bambara and Stephen Volpicelli as trainers. Twenty (20) participants from different dioceses took part in this formation, including lay and religious women and men from different congregations. 

Talitha Kum Mali is named TAKUMA (composed of the first syllable of each word) and we plan to establish TAKUMA nuclei in various dioceses. We have drawn up a national action plan with diocesan contours.

What were the main reasons that led to the creation of the network in Mali?

In Mali, human trafficking is a reality that goes unnoticed in some quarters. From October 2020 to January 2021, before contacting Talitha Kum, the Justice and Peace and Integrity of Creation - Interreligious Dialogue (JPIC-DI) Commission of Union of Catholic Religious of Mali (URCM) conducted a survey on this issue among the religious men and women who work in the 6 dioceses of the country.

This investigation has shown that human trafficking is a fact in Mali, a damage and an obstacle to social cohesion. Mali is a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children who are victims of forced labor, sexual exploitation, forced migration and other forms of modern slavery inside and outside the country.

In light of the current scale of human trafficking in Mali the URCM, joining forces with Talitha Kum International, has commissioned the JPIC-DI commission to take the issue of trafficking to heart, to inform, raise awareness and promote actions that affect the root and systemic causes of trafficking.

What are the main challenges of the network related to human trafficking in Mali?

The first major challenge we faced was recognition by the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM). Without their recognition, it would have been difficult to undertake the collaboration to combat trafficking. 

So far, the JPIC-DI commission has been working to bring TAKUMA to life. The great challenges we still face are enormous. We summarize these in four points:

  • In our national context, it is first and foremost security because in order to work you at least require minimum security.  
  • The commitment and responsibility of this work is enormous and requires members and collaborators to work together against trafficking.
  • As we are at the beginning, the need for constant training for members and collaborators so members are able to strengthen their skills.
  • There is still a need for resources that are necessary for the implementation of the action plan.

Faced with this dehumanizing reality, the Word of God challenges us about our mission and our commitment as a consecrated life for freedom and dignity. “And I, says the Lord, heard the groaning of the Isrealites enslaved by the Egyptians and I remembered my covenant. I am the Lord and I will rescue you from the labors of the Egyptians, and I will rescue you from their bondage, and with an outstretched arm I will redeem you with great judgements” (Ex 6:5-6). And St. Paul would later write: “ I became all for all men, to save some at any cost” (1 Cor 9, 22b).



By Father Nicolas Dyemo, mf, and Sister Marie Chantal, sjd

from Talitha Kum TAKUMA 


February 17, 2023