U.S. State Department honors nun as anti-trafficking ‘hero’

Comboni Sister Gabriella Bottani, center, poses with U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Callista Gingrich, U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, after Sister Bottani was honored as one of the U.S. State Department's "heroes" in combatting human trafficking.

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Honored as one of the U.S. State Department's "heroes" in combatting human trafficking, Comboni Sister Gabriella Bottani urged action to fight the situations that make people, especially women and children, vulnerable to trafficking.

Sister Bottani, international coordinator of the Talitha Kum anti-trafficking network of Catholic women's and men's religious orders, was honored June 20 as one of the State Department's 2019 TIP Report Heroes.


Speaking at an event that included the release of the State Department's annual report on trafficking in persons, Sister Bottani identified three "causes and vulnerabilities that contribute to human trafficking":

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

[Don’t miss the latest news from the church and the world. Sign up for our daily newsletter.]

Callista Gingrich, the U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, nominated Sister Bottani for the award and spoke at the ceremony, saying the Comboni sister deserved to be among the heroes who are "recognized for their tireless efforts -- despite resistance, opposition and even threats to their lives -- to protect victims, punish offenders and raise awareness of ongoing criminal practices in their countries and abroad."

Talitha Kum, she said, involves thousands of Catholic women religious "working on the frontlines to end human trafficking" in 77 countries.

The 10-year-old network, Gingrich said, has helped rescue victims and has "reached thousands of people through anti-trafficking awareness campaigns."

[Want to discuss politics with other America readers? Join our Facebook discussion group, moderated by America’s writers and editors.]

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


The latest from america

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visit the St. John Paul II National Shrine, in Washington, D.C., on June 2. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
A new P.R.R.I. poll suggests that President Trump is losing ground among white Catholics faster than among other major religious groups, reports Michael J. O’Loughlin.
Flying cars, hyperloop trains and other venture capitalist fever dreams are not going to carry us out of our economic mess. (Illustration from iStock/Naeblys)
We can’t wait for the venture capitalists and their playthings to save us after the coronavirus, writes Nathan Schneider. It is time to turn to the innovation of cooperative economics.
Nathan SchneiderJune 04, 2020
A line of police officers faces a woman participating in a protest on May 29 in Louisville, Ky., of the killing of Breonna Taylor by police in March. (Michael Clevenger/Courier Journal via AP)
The police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville was another example of how geographic and racial partitions deny human rights to certain American citizens, writes Joseph S. Flipper of Bellarmine University.
Joseph S. FlipperJune 04, 2020
Our scars pulse with the rage that cannot sound