Indian Sister's Courageous Anti-Trafficking Work Wins International Award
Geo George - November 2023
In the bustling city of Krishnangar, West Bengal, India, there exists a beacon of hope, a courageous figure whose unwavering commitment to rescuing exploited girls and fighting the horrors of human trafficking has earned her global recognition. Meet Sister Seli Thomas, a member of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate, whose extraordinary work recently led her to be honored with the prestigious Sisters Anti-Trafficking Award.
Human trafficking, a corrosive blight that plagues many rural areas of India, is a deeply rooted problem. From child labor to the heart-wrenching stories of grieving mothers, the horrors are all too real. Sister Seli Thomas, however, is a force for good, tirelessly working to combat this scourge.
As she reflects on her journey, Sister Seli shares, "There is always a sentence that strikes me. Someone cried, and the Lord heard their cry, and he sent a prophet." That prophetic calling led her to dedicate her life to protecting her community. She could not stand by when suffering surrounded her. Her innovative approach combines creative strategies with unwavering faith.
Education is at the core of Sister Seli's mission. She believes that the path to freedom from exploitation and poverty lies in the classroom. "We know that school is very important because children grow up there," she says. By educating the youth, she aims to break the cycle of vulnerability that often leads to human trafficking.
Sister Seli and her team offer more than just an education. They provide a safe haven, a space where children can express their concerns and share their fears. It's not just about anti-trafficking; it's about addressing various challenges the youth face.
But Sister Seli's mission goes beyond the classroom. She offers free legal aid and employment opportunities to women, ensuring that poverty doesn't lead them into the clutches of traffickers. Her work targets the root causes of exploitation, focusing on poverty and joblessness.
The heart of her strength lies in her faith and the support of her fellow sisters. "My strength comes from the Lord," she shares. Her unwavering dedication, creativity, and courage continue to make a profound impact on the lives of those she touches.
Sister Seli Thomas is not alone in her mission. She is part of a global network of Catholic sisters actively engaged in the fight against human trafficking. Her remarkable work earned her a well-deserved spot among the honorees at the Sisters Anti-Trafficking Awards.
Former British Prime Minister Theresa May and British champion athlete Sir Mo Farah paid tribute to Sister Seli and her fellow honorees at a prestigious ceremony in London. They celebrated the extraordinary courage, creativity, and collaboration displayed by these consecrated women in protecting their communities from the horrors of human trafficking.
The Sisters Anti-Trafficking Awards shine a spotlight on the exceptional contributions of Catholic sisters to the anti-trafficking movement. Sister Seli Thomas, representing India, joined Sr. Patricia Ebegbulem from Nigeria and Sr. Francoise Jiranonda from Thailand as honorees who have demonstrated unwavering dedication in their fight against human trafficking.
In a world where human trafficking continues to thrive, Sister Seli Thomas's story serves as an inspiration. Her tireless efforts, rooted in faith and compassion, have not only protected her community but also earned her international recognition. As we continue to combat this heinous crime, Sister Seli's work reminds us that we can all be a force for good in the face of adversity.