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Thai Catholic woman receives ‘Outstanding Youth Award for Working in Human Trafficking Prevention’

Areeya Pongpit, a Youth Ambassador of Talitha Kum Thailand (Photo supplied)

A Catholic woman on June 6 received an “Outstanding Youth Award for Working in Human Trafficking Prevention” from the government of Thailand.

Areeya Pongpit is a Youth Ambassador of “Talitha Kum ("Little girl, arise"), Thailand.

“I would like to thank you for your care and bravery,” Areeya said.

The award was given on the occasion of National Day against human trafficking in Thailand. 

Talitha Kum Thailand said the organization is proud of Areeya and the recognition that she received from the Thai government. 

She has been an active supporter, volunteer and ambassador of Talitha Kum Thailand.

The Bible passage in Mark 5:41 of Jesus raising a young girl who died, uttering, "Talitha Kum" ("Little girl, arise"), has come to signify the anti-human-trafficking efforts of Catholic nuns around the globe.

While Catholic nuns’ congregations in Thailand had worked individually for years to prevent girls from rural areas from being abused and ensnared in trafficking, Talitha Kum Thailand started in 2012 as part of a worldwide effort that the International Union of Superiors General sponsored to bring together congregations to work specifically on anti-trafficking issues.

A big part of that effort for Talitha Kum Thailand is educating and raising awareness, particularly among those who are most vulnerable: young teens. 

Talitha Kum Thailand periodically conducts awareness sessions in Catholic schools, and communities, especially in rural areas that are more vulnerable to human trafficking due to poverty, lack of education and other social, cultural and economic factors.

The members of Talitha Kum Thailand partner with women, volunteers, social workers, civil society organizations and human rights activists to conduct sessions in Catholic schools and other communities across the country.

Such sessions are held at Trirajvitthaya, a school of about 1,100 students in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya province, north of Bangkok. The sessions are conducted a few times each month in various Catholic schools. 

Talitha Kum Thailand's goal is to bring it to all 300 Catholic schools in Thailand.

Talitha Kum Thailand explains the perils of trafficking in sex tourism and the fishing industry as well as forced labor. Students learn the common ruses and false promises of good jobs used to lure victims in Thailand and other countries.

Students and young women are explained not to be victims and know the dangers of trafficking. “Only 13: The True Story of Lon”—is a book that details the life of a Thai girl in the sex tourism trade.

The anti-trafficking efforts in Thailand are not easy but face many challenges. 

Talitha Kum Thailand is the result of a multi-layer effort by congregations to cooperate and coordinate anti-trafficking efforts. 

In July 2015, the Association of Major Superiors of Men and Women of Thailand adopted Talitha Kum Thailand as one mission, with 26 congregations participating in the network. 

They share experiences, and support advocacy and lobbying efforts; network for the rescue of trafficking victims, especially in the fishing industry; share curriculums for schools, and assist in presentations such as the one at schools. - With inputs from Global Sisters Report 


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.