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INDIA: Sister receives award for combating human trafficking

Sister Seli Thomas of the Catechist Sisters of Mary Immaculate Help of Christians

Salesian sister among 3 honored for work to rescue women from traffickers


(MissionNewswire) Sister Seli Thomas, a member of the Catechist Sisters of Mary Immaculate Help of Christians, has been awarded the “SATA – Sisters Anti-Trafficking Award”, given to sisters engaged in the fight against human trafficking. Sr. Thomas, from Krishnagar, West Bengal, India, received the award on Oct. 31 during a ceremony held in London along with two other sisters from Nigeria and Thailand.

The three sisters rescued women from a network of traffickers who allegedly exploited them for sexual and labor purposes. The commendation states that all three showed courage and cooperation in protecting these women from human trafficking.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) noted, “Globally, national responses, particularly in developing States, appear to be deteriorating. Detection rates fell by 11% in 2020 and convictions plummeted by 27%, illustrating a worldwide slowdown in the criminal justice response to trafficking. The COVID-19 pandemic also changed the characteristics of trafficking, pushing it further underground and potentially increasing the dangers to victims by making the crime less likely to come to the attention of the authorities. In fact, 41% of victims who manage to escape their ordeal reach out to the authorities on their own initiative — another clear sign that anti-trafficking responses are falling short.”

As UNODC explained, “those who lack legal status, live in poverty, have limited access to education, health care, or decent work, face discrimination, violence, or abuse, or come from marginalized communities are often the primary targets of traffickers.”

Salesian missionaries who operate in more than 130 countries work both to prevent human trafficking and to care for victims who are living on the streets and seeking a second chance in life.

“Salesian missionaries and sisters around the globe provide programs and services to help youth lead healthier and productive lives, combat trafficking, and ensure youth are safe,” said Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “We applaud the sisters for their courage in helping the young women to escape from their traffickers. They will have a chance at a better life thanks to the sisters’ brave actions.”



ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – England – An award for commitment against human trafficking to Sister Seli Thomas, SMI

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2023

Salesian Missions – India

World Bank – India

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