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Arise celebrates anti-trafficking sisters in Rome

Arise was proud to host the second annual Sisters Anti-Trafficking Awards in Rome last month, along with co-hosts UISG and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

MC’d by broadcaster and journalist, Delia Gallagher, the event honoured three sisters, Sr. Grasy Luisa Rodrigues FDCC from India, Sr Anne Victory HM from the USA and Sr. Marie Claude Naddaf RGS from Lebanon, for their anti-trafficking efforts.

Testimony speeches were given by Mary Mugo, a Talitha Kum Youth Ambassador from Kenya, Nasreen Sheikh, a survivor advocate originally from Nepal; and Kevin Hyland, formerly the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and now the Chair of Arise. 

The keynote was delivered by Sr. Nathalie Becquart, Undersecretary of the General Secretariat of the Synod, who underlined how vital it is to listen to victims and survivors and to serve those on the peripheries in general.

Co-hosted by Arise, UISG and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the SATAs brought together an audience of over 200 people from across and beyond the anti-slavery, humanitarian, and Catholic spheres.

The Common Good Award laureate - Sr. Grasy Luisa Rodrigues FDCC

Introduced by Arise Founding President, John Studzinski CBE, Sr. Grasy Luisa Rodrigues FDCC, from India, won the Common Good Award for courage and creativity in addressing exploitation. 

Sr. Grasy has been combating human trafficking for 13 years across Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Goa. She focuses on protecting marginalized groups, such as slum children, impoverished families and transgender people, by conducting awareness sessions on protection and safety from sexual exploitation. She empowers women through skills training in tailoring, beautician courses, legal literacy, computer courses, and adult education. Sr. Grasy also organizes children's classes on rights, health, hygiene, child labor, cyber safety, and the Juvenile Justice Act.

The Servant Leadership Award laureate - Sr Anne Victory HM

Introduced by UISG President, Sr Mary Barron OLA, Sr Anne Victory HM, from the USA, won the Servant Leadership Award for excellence in network building. 

In 2007, Sr. Anne helped establish the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking in Cleveland, Ohio, focusing on education, advocacy, and connecting services for trafficked individuals. She played a crucial role in developing awareness programs and actionable steps for the community. As a founding member of US Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking (now Alliance to End Human Trafficking), Sr. Anne collaborates with Talitha Kum to address trafficking's root causes. She participated in the 2019 Talitha Kum Assembly in Rome and works to improve conditions that foster vulnerability and trafficking.

The Human Dignity Award laureate - Sr Marie Claude Naddaf RGS

Introduced by Hilton Associate Vice President of Program Operations and Head of Catholic Sisters, Sr Jane Wakahiu, Sr. Marie Claude Naddaf RGS, from Lebanon, won the Human Dignity Award for lifetime achievement in addressing exploitation. 

Sr. Marie Claude Naddaf, a Syrian based in Lebanon, serves as the Regional Coordinator of Wells of Hope, part of the Talitha Kum Network in the Middle East.Upon assuming the role of Mother Superior at the Good Shepherd Convent in Damascus in 1994, Sr. Marie Claude recognized the absence of social services for women facing domestic violence, homelessness, or trafficking in Syria. Determined to address this, she initiated various services at her convent and fostered a partnership with the Syrian government to combat violence against women.

In 1996, she established Syria's inaugural facility for trafficking and domestic violence survivors, the "Oasis Shelter." Its success led to the creation of additional shelters, backed by full government support. Sr. Marie Claude also introduced Syria’s first women's hotline, offering round-the-clock counseling, legal assistance, and temporary shelter. Her advocacy led to a pivotal shift in the government's approach, from viewing trafficking survivors as criminals to recognizing them as victims deserving of support.

The SATAs seeks to raise the profile of the phenomenal contribution of Catholic Sisters against human trafficking, to share knowledge and foster further collaborative anti-trafficking efforts between congregations and across the anti-trafficking sector as a whole, and to broaden and deepen the protection of communities vulnerable to trafficking worldwide. In the 20th century, many Catholic religious orders established programs to combat human trafficking. Catholic Sisters are the largest force against human trafficking in the world. 

Arise is proud to work alongside sisters in a number of our target regions.

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