Partnering with Faith-Based Organizations in the Fight Against Human Trafficking

Partnering with Faith-Based Organizations in the Fight Against Human Trafficking

January 31, 2020
The White House
Washington D.C.

As Delivered:

Good morning.  It’s an honor to be with you.

I want to thank President Trump and Senior Advisor Ivanka Trump for their leadership and steadfast commitment to the fight against human trafficking.

The scourge of human trafficking is a stain on all of humanity. It invades borders; destroys communities; and robs millions of their human dignity.

Faced with this great challenge, the Trump Administration is committed to protecting survivors, prosecuting offenders, and ending modern slavery.

However, governments can not act alone.  Human trafficking is a global crisis and requires global solutions – across all sectors of society.

Partnerships with faith-based organizations are critical in turning the tide.

Faith-based organizations serve as lifelines for some of the most vulnerable people on the planet, including victims of human trafficking

They have an unrivaled ability to build trust with survivors and to provide care and rehabilitation.

Like the United States, the Holy See understands and appreciates the powerful role of faith-based organizations in eradicating modern slavery.

Indeed, Catholic organizations are among some of America’s best partners in this endeavor.  The U.S. Embassy to the Holy See works with the global network of the Catholic Church, which extends to more than 1.3 billion people worldwide.

For example, as an embassy we promote and support the courageous work of Catholic sisters.  Our grants have funded anti-trafficking programs for women religious in 36 countries.

Recently, we established an anti-trafficking training course for a global organization called Talitha Kum.  Talitha Kum is comprised of over 2,000 Catholic sisters in 92 countries – all working to combat human trafficking.

Faith-based organizations like Talitha Kum are on the ground in nearly every country in the world, including the United States.  They work tirelessly to save women, men, and children from horrific fates.

And they are key partners for federal and state law enforcement agencies, braving the omnipresent threat of criminal and terrorist organizations that profit from this global crime.

Together, law enforcement agencies and faith-based organizations help facilitate victim-recovery, reintegration, and criminal prosecution.

Here in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have strong partnerships with Catholic service organizations to provide safe havens for victims.

And internationally, the United States and the Holy See are members of the Santa Marta Group, an organization comprised of law enforcement officials, Catholic bishops, women religious, and civil society leaders that work together to develop victim-centered approaches to end human trafficking.

As you leave today with renewed dedication and resolve, I encourage you to explore opportunities to collaborate with faith-based organizations – across all faiths – in the fight against modern slavery.

In this regard, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See will continue to work diligently with the Vatican to eradicate human trafficking.

Together we can save lives and end this horrific injustice.

Thank you.