The Myths and Terrible Truths of Human Trafficking

The Myths and Terrible Truths of Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a horrible reality in our world today. Our guests speakers this week have dedicated their lives and careers to addressing this issue, working alongside consecrated women from around the world as part of the Talitha Kum network. Sister Gabriella Bottani, S.M.C., and Sister Ann Oestreich I.H.M., will spend this hour with us, helping to dispel some of the myths about trafficking, shed light on the realities of this issue, and reveal the progress their organizations are making to save the children, women, and men suffering from the crime of human trafficking.

Introducing Sr. Gabriella Bottani, S.M.C., and Sr. Ann Oestreich, I.H.M.

Presented by Chris Stevens

Chris Stevens ’74, Co-Founding Director of the Inspired Leadership Initiative, provides an introduction to this week’s topic: “The Myths and Terrible Truths of Human Trafficking,” and special guests, Sr. Gabriella Bottani, S.M.C., and  Sr. Ann Oestreich, I.H.M.

Sr. Gabriella Bottani, S.M.C.

Presented by Chris Stevens

International Coordinator, Talitha Kum

The fierce resolve of Sister Gabriella Bottani, S.M.C., to support human trafficking victims around the world developed after she met a victim of sex trafficking in Rome. She has since dedicated her ministry in Italy to combating the crime. 

In 2015, Bottani was appointed as the international coordinator to lead Talitha Kum, a global network of more than 2,000 Catholic nuns across 77 countries working on the front lines to end human trafficking. Established by the International Union of Superiors General in 2009, Talitha Kum has reached thousands of people through anti-trafficking awareness campaigns, education programs, international conferences, training manuals, vocational training, and hands-on services. Bottani and other members of this dedicated network have served more than 10,000 survivors, accompanying them to shelters and residential communities, collaborating nationally and internationally on cases, and assisting with voluntary repatriation. In addition, Bottani has organized and served as a consultant for numerous training courses and seminars to help service providers identify and respond to potential human trafficking cases. 

Before leading Talitha Kum, Bottani played an essential role in advancing anti-trafficking efforts in Brazil by serving vulnerable children and women in favelas and leading a national campaign against human trafficking before and during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Throughout her career, her work has inspired generations of anti-trafficking advocates within the Catholic faith. (Source:

Sr. Ann Oestreich, I.H.M.

Presented by Chris Stevens

President, U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking

Sister Ann Oestreich, I.H.M., is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, located in Monroe, Michigan. She has served in education, communications, and social justice ministries. She was Executive Director of the Center for Justice in Buffalo, New York, and the Congregation Justice Coordinator for the Sisters of the Holy Cross in South Bend, Indiana. She also served as Communications Director for the Monroe IHM Congregation and National Coordinator of the National Catholic Sisters Project. She now works with A Nun’s Life Ministry as a Podcast Consultant/Content Developer.

She has extensive board experience, including service on the Boards of the Africa Faith and Justice Network, Jubilee USA Network, and the Charitable Trust Board of the Sisters of Mercy, Detroit Regional Community. She currently serves on the Boards of Directors for Friends in Solidarity, Sisters Rising Worldwide, and as President of the Board for U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking. Additionally, Sister Ann is the North American representative on the Talitha Kum International Coordination Committee.

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Presented by Chris Stevens

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Featured Speakers: 

  • Sr. Gabriella Bottani, S.M.C., International Coordinator, Talitha Kum
  • Sr. Ann Oestreich, I.H.M., President, U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking
  • Chris Stevens, Co-Founding Director, Inspired Leadership Initiative

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Additional Resources

Presented by Chris Stevens

Catholic Nuns Lead Global Fight Against Human Trafficking
View this segment from the TODAY Show from March 31, 2021, about Talitha Kum and Catholic Sisters around the world working against human trafficking

Run time: 7 minutes

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