An official website of the United States government

Ambassador Gingrich’s Remarks at Talitha Kum Event on Human Trafficking
November 25, 2019

In the background a light source, a corner of a screen for projections, and a corner of a conference table can be seen. Ambassador Gingrich stands behind a metal podium, speaking to an audience not shown in the photo.

Pontificia Università Antonianum
Rome, Italy
November 25, 2019

The Experience of Collaboration between the Pontifical Antonianum University and Talitha Kum

Thank you. Good afternoon. I’d like to thank Rector Hernandez and Professor Colage for the opportunity to be with you.

I’m delighted to be joined today by Sister Pat Murray and Sister Gabriella Bottani. The UISG and Talitha Kum are cherished partners of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. During my tenure as ambassador, I’ve seen how vital these organizations are in communities around the world, and in the fight against human trafficking.

The scourge of human trafficking is a stain on all of humanity. It egregiously violates the unalienable rights that belong to every human being.

The reality is grim. Today 25 million adults and children suffer from labor and sex trafficking throughout the world. The fight to eradicate human trafficking strikes at the very core of our moral responsibility as human beings.

Governments also have a particular responsibility in this battle. No country is immune from human trafficking. Human trafficking threatens international peace and security, distorts markets, and emboldens transnational criminals and terrorists.

This is why the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See is proud to support a training course for Talitha Kum, and why we continue to play a collaborative role in anti-trafficking efforts.

Know that in the United States, under President Trump’s leadership, you have a dedicated partner in this fight. Each and every day, America works to liberate victims from human trafficking, to protect the most vulnerable, and to enable victims to live in dignity and freedom.

Through the Department of State, the United States engages with partners in more than 80 countries to support anti-trafficking efforts.

As I’ve said on numerous occasions – global crises require global solutions. International partnerships are crucial, but they are not enough. Governments cannot solve this crisis alone. Human trafficking must also be fought on the local level.

One of the biggest misconceptions about human trafficking is that it always extends across national boundaries. In reality an estimated 77 percent of victims never leave home.

Faced with this sad truth, the 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report from the U.S. Department of State calls upon all governments to reject the common misunderstanding that human trafficking requires movement across borders.

A clear understanding of the nature of human trafficking is essential to identifying victims and implementing local solutions.

Accordingly, governments must empower local communities and organizations like Talitha Kum to recognize and address trafficking.

Government support for anti-trafficking efforts can take many forms, from providing grants for training programs, to amplifying the efforts of women religious.

Each year, along with the release of the annual Trafficking-in-Persons Report, the U.S. Department of State honors courageous individuals who dedicate their lives to eradicating human trafficking.

These Heroes are recognized for their tireless efforts to protect victims, punish offenders, and raise awareness of criminal activity at home and abroad.

One of these remarkable individuals, Sister Gabriella Bottani, is here today.

In June, Sister Gabriella traveled to Washington D.C. and was recognized by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report Hero.

I was honored to nominate Sister Gabriella for this award, in recognition of her lifelong commitment to fighting human trafficking, and her remarkable work with Talitha Kum.

Her network of over 2,000 sisters has served thousands of survivors, while organizing anti-trafficking campaigns, international conferences, and, as we see today, critical training programs.

As we near 2020, I look forward to continued collaboration with Talitha Kum, UISG, and other like-minded partners as we work to eradicate the global evil of human trafficking.

Thank you and God bless.

Callista L. Gingrich
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See