Modern slaves have invisible chains, sisters say

Many modern-day slaves don’t realise they are being exploited, according to the new coordinator of Talitha Kum, a Rome-based international network of over 1000 religious sisters working to end human trafficking.

Comboni Missionary Sr Gabriella Bottani told Global Sisters Report of trafficked girls: “They don't see what happens to them as servitude. They say, ‘Well, I have to work because they give me something to eat.’ They don't realize that are exploited.”

A challenge, she said, is to help such people understand how “everyone has rights and dignity that can't be exploited for money.”

Similar blindness exists in the rest of society, she said, when people encounter women who have become prostitutes or adopted children who might have been trafficked. 

“It's not something that you recognize quickly,” she said, “And this is why we have to speak up about it.”

According to the U.S. State Department, between 800,000 and 2 million people are trafficked each year, 80% of these being women and girls.