Strengthening Connections to End Human Trafficking

VIVAT International, Talitha Kum, USCSAHT, and some other UNNGOs organized a Panel Discussion to mark the UN World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, July 30th, 2019, under the theme ‘Strengthening Connections to End Trafficking in Persons.’

An Interactive Dialogue with Talitha Kum, USCSAHT, and UN NGOs

On Wednesday, July 30th, 2019, the United Nations (UN) celebrated the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres in his message on this occasion, states: “Human trafficking is a heinous crime that affects every region of the world. Some 72 per cent of detected victims are women and girls, and the percentage of child victims has more than doubled from 2004 to 2016, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Most detected victims are trafficked for sexual exploitation; victims are also trafficked for forced labour, recruitment as child soldiers and other forms of exploitation and abuse…

…Multilateral action has generated progress, including through the Palermo Convention and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. Most countries have the necessary laws in place, and some countries recently recorded their first trafficking convictions. But more needs to be done to bring transnational trafficking networks to justice and, most of all, to ensure that victims are identified and can access the protection and services they need…

…On this World Day against Trafficking in Persons, let us reaffirm our commitment to stop criminals from ruthlessly exploiting people for profit and to help victims rebuild their lives”

(Source: “Secretary-General’s Message for 2019”,

Civil Society Initiatives

On the same occasion, some Civil Society Organizations at the UN — VIVAT International, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, Justice Coalition of Religious and Mercy International Association—and two other Non UN related Organizations—Talitha Kum and US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking—organized a panel discussion at the UN Church Center, New York, under the theme, “Strengthening Connections to End Human Trafficking: An Interactive Dialogue with Talitha Kum, USCSAHT, and UN NGOs.”

Four panelists — Sr. Gabriella Bottani, SMC, Director of Talitha Kum, Sr. Michelle Loisel, DC, Coordinator of Provincial Response to Migrants and Issues of Modern Human Slavery, Company of the Daughters of Charity, St. Louise Province, Sr. Winifred Doherty, RGS, Representative to the UN got the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, and Robert Mirsel, SVD, Representative of VIVAT International at the UN—started the panel discussion by sharing experiences and best practices of their organizations in dealing with trafficking in persons.

Sr. Gabriela mentioned Talitha Kum’s work during this past 15 years on how to identify, help and empower victims of TIPs in more than 60 countries. She also invited the participants to help Talitha Kum strengthen its commitment to doing this work. The same voice came from Sr. Michelle. Meanwhile, Sr. Winifred spoke about the importance of advocacy work at the UN by using UN mechanisms to urge governments implement at national and local levels policies for prevention, protection and prosecution. Robert Mirsel shared about ASEAN regional convention on anti-trafficking in persons and an Indonesian example of collaboration and networking among multi-stakeholders on combating human trafficking called “Zero Human Trafficking Network” (ZTN), a coalition of 33 parties including NGOs, academic institutions, religious leaders and religious institutions, media, police, legal institutions, and research centers at local, national and global levels.

The panel discussion ended with a group discussion to collect ideas on how to strengthen CSO collaboration and connections to combat trafficking in persons at all levels.

Robert Mirsel, SVD
VIVAT International – New York Office