Anna Sander had encountered prostitution in Amsterdam's red light district, Josephine Appelqvist on the streets of Manila in the Philippines. Their paths crossed in Stockholm a few years later. United in the same commitment and heart for women, they chose to start Talita.
We who run the association Talita have for many years been involved in work aimed at supporting and helping women and children exploited in prostitution. For four years (1998-2002) we worked together in an outreach social work among women in prostitution in Stockholm (the Bus Project). The bus project was run by a church. Through this work, we came into contact with about a hundred women who were struggling with addiction and/or prostitution.
In addition to the immediate support that the Bus Project could offer in the form of a meeting place in the middle of the city every Friday night, as well as community, warmth, food and clothing, we were also able to refer people with addiction problems to various treatment options. However, the help we could offer the women in prostitution who did not have a drug addiction was very limited, as there was no accommodation with a rehabilitation/exit program to refer them to. It was in order to better support this group that we started Talita in 2004.
Only in 2012 could we open our first shelter, Villa Talita. Before that, we had received women for trauma therapy at the Talita center and tried to provide as much support as we could based on our conditions.
Today, Talita has two shelters with rehabilitation in Stockholm, and runs similar operations in Mongolia, Romania, the Philippines and Kenya.
When we started the organization in 2004, it was because we saw a vulnerable group - women in prostitution - that society was not doing enough to help. Since we are Christians ourselves, it was natural for us to base the organization on a Christian foundation.
Everyone who turns to us has the right to know that our holistic approach means that we believe that people not only have basic needs of a physical, material, psychological, social and intellectual nature, but also of a spiritual/existential nature. Especially the foreign women who come to us express that it means a lot to them that we understand their world view and can meet their existential questions. An overwhelming majority of them come from societies and cultures where belief in the existence of God is central.
By Christian foundation we mean:
- That every human being is worthy of love and is treated with interest, respect, consideration and without prejudice.
- That every human being has a free will that must be protected, listened to and respected.
- That every human being is created with a unique purpose.
Our values are about reaching out to the people who need it most. We believe that the biggest problem in the world today is that people love too little and judge too much. In our belief, God's love is unconditional and we try to communicate that love through everything we do. Blaming or condemning individuals goes completely against our values.
Talita provides rehabilitation for women who have been exploited in the sex trade. Our method contains no religious elements, but we offer voluntary meetings with conversations about faith and Bible studies.
Talita is not affiliated with any church and we have a natural openness to different beliefs. We welcome everyone who falls within our target group, regardless of ethnic background, social status, religion, sexual orientation or political views. Our desire is to create a safe place where vulnerable people feel welcome and where new hope can be born.
In our presentation video, you can listen to women sharing their stories and Talita's founders describing how the work started and what we do today.
Below is a brief summary of our vision
and our mission:
Talita means "little girl" and is taken from a story in the Bible where Jesus stands at a girl's deathbed and says "little girl, I tell you, get up" (talita koum) and the girl gets up.
Our vision is that the women and girls we meet will rise up to a new life. Talita's motto is to see the whole woman, help her all the way, no matter where in the world she has been victimized and no matter if someone pays for the place with us or not.
- Human trafficking is a modern-day form of slavery.
- Prostitution is a form of men's violence against women/children.
- Pornography is documented prostitution.
Talita's mission is to combat sex trafficking in all its forms through prevention, outreach and rehabilitation.
Talita is a small organization with great people. These people make up the employed staff we have in Sweden and the operational managers we have abroad.
Founder, trauma therapist and licensed pharmacist with experience in professional development and training activities.
Founder, trauma therapist and lawyer with a focus on human rights and experience working against child sex trafficking.
Responsible for the accommodation Lilla Talita. Also leads Talita's outreach activities. Has personal experience of prostitution and has completed Talita's program.
Administrator and responsible for planning with clients in detention. Has previous experience in client work in Romania. Speaks fluent Romanian.
Visual communicator and webmaster. Practical all-rounder in our accommodation.
Responsible for the accommodation Villa Talita. Previously long experience of working in social services with a particular focus on children and families in vulnerable situations.
Responsible for planning with program clients and founder & operations manager of Talita Mongolia. Trained trauma therapist and English and Russian teacher.
Leader in research and prevention. Expert on pornography and initiator and project manager of Reality Check.