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Sr. Gabriella Bottani honoured as a "Trafficking in Person (TIP) Report Hero"

2019 TIP Report Launch Ceremony hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday, June 20, 2019, at the U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.

Every year in this period the U.S. Department of State issues a Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, assessing the efforts by foreign governments during the previous year to combat the global crime of human trafficking.  Along with this report, some brave individuals committed worldwide to the same endeavour, are publicly honoured as Heroes in recognition of their tireless efforts to protect victims, punish offenders, and raise awareness of ongoing criminal practices in their countries and abroad, and because their actions have made a lasting impact on the fight against modern slavery.

U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich introduced Sr. Gabriella during the ceremony: “Sister Gabriella, like all of this year’s honourees, fully embodies the qualities of a TIP Hero. She is a prominent anti-trafficking advocate within the Catholic Church.  Her life-time of dedication to combatting human trafficking has saved countless lives.”  The Ambassador recalled the crucial role played by Sr. Gabriella in Brazil, where she started by serving vulnerable children and women in disadvantaged areas, also leading a national campaign against human trafficking during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. “As International Coordinator of Talitha Kum, […] Sister Gabriella oversees anti-trafficking initiatives,” like “anti-trafficking awareness campaigns, education programs, international conferences, training manuals, and vocational training across 77 countries.The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See is proud of its long history of friendship and collaboration with Sister Gabriella Bottani and the Talitha Kum network.  Partnerships like this are crucial to the task of eradicating the global evil of human trafficking, once and for all.

Sr. Gabriella was there in representation of the over 2,000 consecrated women involved in anti-trafficking activities, as well as children, women and men suffering from this crime. This award arrives on this very important year for the Network, celebrating its 10th anniversary on 21-27 September by holding a General Assembly that will be attended by over 90 participants from 77 countries worldwide.

In her speech on behalf of the nine nominees (watch video here), Sr. Gabriella thanked for being honoured, and stated that, “like the individuals and organizations represented here this morning, we work in dialogue and in collaboration with people of different faith traditions and with people of good will. We seek to overcome any kind of ideological, religious and political manipulation of anti-human trafficking measures and activities, promoting instead a holistic person/survivor centred approach, respecting the inherent dignity of each person.” She also reminded the audience about the major causes of vulnerability that can lead to human trafficking, such as:

  • Unequal power structures in our societies, especially regarding women, children, and indigenous people.
  • Inadequate migration polices in an increasingly interconnected world.
  • And an economic model that exploits human beings and environmental resources for the profit of a few in contrast with the exploitation of the many.

Sr. Gabriella invited the members of the audience to commit, together, to combat this crime: “This is a call that all the heroes make today – to courageously raise the bar, and our dreams, in order to open new pathways towards freedom. This freedom is possible when it is based on a mutually transformative relationship, at the personal level, between survivors and anti-trafficking activists, and the organizations we represent, but also at the geo-political level, between countries of origin, transit, and destination.

Let us stand up, together!

See picture gallery of the event here

Download here the full speech by U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Callista Gingrich

Download here the full speech by Sister Gabriella Bottani