Fil-Am nun is new global leader of anti-human trafficking network

September 12, 2022 - 4:32 PM
Sr. Aurea “Abby” Avelino of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic. (Photo from Talitha Kum via CBCP news)

A Filipino-American nun has assumed the leadership of Talitha Kum, an worldwide network of religious nuns against human trafficking.

The organization announced Friday the appointment of Sr. Aurea “Abby” Avelino of the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic as its new international coordinator.

She replaced Comboni Missionary Sr. Gabriella Bottani, who served the post since 2014.

Sr. Avelino was born in Batangas province’s Tanauan town, but later immigrated to the US and settled in California with her family.

She worked as a mechanical and systems engineer for six years before entering consecrated life.

As a missionary, she was assigned in Japan’s capital of Tokyo, where she lived for 16 years as a pastoral worker.

She became involved with the Talitha Kum Japan in 2016, focusing on the pastoral accompaniment of migrant workers, particularly Filipino women, and victims and survivors of human trafficking.

In 2021, she joined the Talitha Kum international coordination committee as the regional representative of Asia.

Now in Rome, her role as global coordinator includes empowering and nurturing the growth of the networks and strengthening collaborations with Vatican organizations and other key partners.

Established by the International Union of Superiors General in 2009, the Talitha Kum is a network of more than 2,000 Catholic nuns across 77 countries working on the front lines to end human trafficking.