There are places on this planet full of turmoil, where armies wage war against each other. But what many people don’t know is that another kind of army exists, and they don’t shoot guns.
An army of nuns rescues victims of human trafficking around the world. They do this by disguising themselves as prostitutes and laborers. Human trafficking happens when people are taken against their will. Often, they are sold into sexual slavery or forced labor. It’s estimated that one percent of the world population, more than 70 million people have been victims of human trafficking.
This army of nuns sheds their traditional religious clothing, and wears the typical clothing of prostitutes or laborers. This disguise allows them to access some of the most dangerous brothels and working conditions in the world. Once they’re inside, they can help trapped and abused people escape. They work for as little as 2 cents a day to uncover abuses and help people escape. They also raise money to buy the freedom of children and women who’ve been sold into sexual slavery.
There are more than 1,000 of these religious sisters working in over 80 countries. In these places, some of the world’s most desperate families sometimes sell their own children into slavery.
The nuns call themselves Talitha Kum, which means, “arise child” in Aramaic, an ancient Mideast language. The phrase “Talitha Kum” is taken from a story in the bible about Jesus bringing a young girl back to life.
Most people would say that the Talitha Kum religious sisters are modern day heroes and that we need more people like them, but not everyone agrees. Christina Arnold, of Prevent Human Trafficking, says that the nuns might actually be interfering with the fight against trafficking.
“People have their hearts in the right place,” she said. But when the nuns purchase children to save them from human trafficking they are actually perpetuating the trade.
When the nuns buy children, they are putting money into the very thing they are working against. They are giving people who sell children a reason to keep doing it.
“It sounds like a good idea but it’s actually a ludicrous one,” she said.
What do you think? Are the nuns heroic or are they just making things worse?