How the Nuns of Talitha Kum and NYC Artist ESPO Are Teaming Up to Fight Against Human Trafficking

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Crux, Faith, Human Trafficking, Humanitarian Aid, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY, Talitha Kum, Vatican

By Emily Drooby

Planes, a faceless nun, a safe house, and a ladder — these are all images crafted into a mural on the corner of Catherine Street and Metropolitan Avenue in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was created by artist Steve Powers, also known as Espo.

It’s not just art, it’s a public face in a fight against evil being done by nuns who are part of the Talitha Kum organization that fights human trafficking around the globe.

John McCaffrey is the President of the Galileo Foundation which supports Vatican initiatives. He was first asked by Pope Francis himself to help raise support and money for Talitha Kum. However, there was a problem: keeping the identities of the nuns and the survivors they help secret.

“The nature of their work is pretty confidential and pretty sensitive, so it’s impossible to show their faces in many cases,” John explained.

Staying out of the public eye makes it hard for them to share their success stories and in turn, makes it difficult to fundraise. But they need the help because their work is expensive – it can cost between two-thousand and ten-thousand dollars to rescue a survivor.

This not only includes getting them home, but also providing shelter, recovery treatment and education to get them integrated back into society.

“How we can find a different way of speaking about the reality in the respect of the dignity and the identity of the people also to protect them,” Sister Gabriella Bottani of Talitha Kum asked.

That’s how the idea of the “Super Nuns” initiative was born.

“Ideally it is an animation project that tells the story in real time of these real-life situations that the nuns find themselves in around the world,” John told Currents News.

The initiative uses comic-book-like art to tell their stories safely. It all points people to the SUPER NUNS community on Patreon, where you can donate online at

This website allows people to make monthly donations and in return they receive access to special pieces of art and stories.

ESPO helped launch the campaign with prints and the mural.

“It’s drops in a bucket,” ESPO said. “It’s just a little bit at a time it’s not really big changes, but it’s little changes until the bucket is full.”

ESPO is a life-long Catholic. His art made it all the way to the Vatican, and was even signed by the Holy Father back in February.

“This dedication to the Talitha Kum sisters and his ability to stop everything he was doing —  really multi-task —  I’m sure with his many duties, to stop and talk to us and give us a little bit of strength was super humbling and super gracious,” ESPO said of the visit and opportunity to meet the Holy Father.

Over the past two years, Talitha Kum has helped protect more than 15,000 survivors. Money raised on the Patreon site will help fund on the ground work they’re currently doing.