2022 Assembly


Presentation of Pope’s Message for the World Day of Peace in Poland


The Catholic News Agency (KAI) in Poland presented the Pope’s message for the World Day of Peace at the press conference on 10th December 2014. This media brief was organised in the venue of the Polish Episcopal Conference (KEP) and in paralel with a corresponding event at the Vatican.
Bishop Artur Miziński, General Secretary of KEP, spoke about the leading topic of the Pope’s message, which is slavery. Many people think that slavery is a thing of the past. In fact, this social plague remains all too real in today’s world. NO LONGER SLAVES, BUT BROTHERS AND SISTERS – says Pope Francis. And this is an inspiration for us all, for the coming year, 2015.
Professor Adam Glapiński, representative of the Monetary Policy Council (RPP), spoke about a paradigm shift in the economy which began in 2007, when the first symptoms of the world crisis appeared. It continues nowadays and urges us to look for the values in all that we do. Campaigning for profit and following the economy according to Adam Smith, is not a solution for today. It would be good to see the implementation of Catholic Social Teaching among businesses and entrepreneurs’, said Prof. Glapiński. And it is possible, there are good examples of it in Austria and Germany, he continued.
Mr. Piotr Mierecki, Director of the Unit against Trafficking in Human Beings at the Ministry of Interior, explained how the Polish state is coping with the problem of human trafficking. The scale of the phenomenon cannot be known precisely, due to its nature. Many cases remain hidden. However last year about 100 trials took place and as a result of this not less than 1000 persons were identified as victims of human trafficking in Poland.
Sr. Anna Bałchan, PoMOC Association and Member of RENATE, was one of the key speakers invited to this press conference. She gave testimony of her experience with the victims of human trafficking and domestic violence in the work which she has developed in Poland for 15 years. She emphasised the burnining problem of family crisis and broken relationships in the present day society, which makes people vulnerable and easy targets for the oppressors. Sr. Anna shared information on how her Association is going to respond to this. They are planning to build a development and care centre for children. This initiative willl involve adults from dysfunctional families and train them in parental skills. Many forget that a human being is created to be loved, not to be used, she said.
Video in Polish: Godziwa zapłata a problem handlu ludźmi

Cross Cultural Exchange in Bled Lake, Slovenia, 24th – 28th November 2014


The Medaille Trust, who runs several shelters in the UK, invited Different and Equal, the NGO running the shelter for trafficked victims in Albania, to come together with 10 people from Albania and 10 from the UK to participate at the workshop ‘Cross cultural exchange’ organized between the UK, Albania and Slovenia” from November 24th – 28th 2014 on the Bled Lake, Slovenia. Mary Ward Loreto was invited to send two members of staff to be present at this cross cultural exchange. The Manager of Mary Ward Women’s Project, Ana Stakaj and the MWW Northern Areas Assistant Manager, Irena Kraja went to the event and both members of MWL staff had already established a strong working relationship with the Medaille Trust and had been to the UK to visit the shelters of the Medaille Trust and to continue with on-going work both with Albanian victims in the UK and through prevention work in Albania with vulnerable women. The following is their account of this enterprise.

1. Cross Cultural Exchange in Slovenia, November 2014
1. Cross Cultural Exchange in Slovenia, November 2014

This workshop aimed to provide necessary information on the different realities of human trafficking in UK, Albania and Slovenia, the approach of working with human trafficking victims, training of staff in direct work with the victims, and also to strengthen the collaboration between the parties.
This event started with a presentation of the situation of trafficking in Albania, led by Marjana Meshi, CEO of Different and Equal and followed by a presentation of the Medaille Trust Development Manager, Charlotte Kirkwood, on the situation of trafficking in UK.
Sr. Andreja Caks presented to the teams the beautiful Slovenian landscapes and also the situation of trafficking in Slovenia.
The methodology of this workshop included direct training, sharing experiences, study cases, team building and workshops on:
–          Dealing with conflict and aggression;
–          Substance use and misuse;
–          Protection and safety for the victims,
–          Professional boundaries;
–          Managing victim self-risk;
–          Working with child victims;
–          Therapeutic interventions.
The facilitation of these processes was led by Diane Killian, a professional consultant on social and health aspects, hired by the Medaille Trust.
Importance was given to the safety of survivors of trafficking and the staff. According to this, a training session was dedicated to conflict and fight management techniques. Participants shared their own experiences related to this and the way they dealt with issues of conflict. Caritas Slovenia, who manage a shelter for the survivors of trafficking, explained their strategy for protection and safety. They moved their premises each two or three years to different areas. D&E explained that the policies of the shelter related to staff protection, prohibit them from sharing personal information about survived victims, except their real name.
Each group shared their methodology and services offered for better rehabilitation of the survived victims. The main services included counseling, skype sessions, art therapy, vocational courses, gym, involvement in the house work, foreign language courses. The participants shared their experiences relating to the collaboration with the statutory services. The UK demonstrated an experience of good support offered to the survived victims, by the statutory services. This included economic support, and health services, which Albania does not receive.
Two police officers, Phil Brewer and Karen Anstiss from the Metropolitan Police in UK, heading the anti-trafficking and kidnapping unit, explained the way in which the Met police is organized to fight human trafficking through, the intelligence, the denunciation, interrogation process of the victims, the process of investigation of the traffickers, and referring the victims to the shelters or other services.

Team building

2. Cross Cultural Exchange in Slovenia, November 2014
2. Cross Cultural Exchange in Slovenia, November 2014

The bonding outside the working hours was important in the fact that it was at these times that the key workers of MWW had the most effective communication with the key workers of Medaille Trust. They expressed the importance and effectiveness of the ongoing exchange of experiences and visits between Albania and UK as it provided the necessary knowledge about the culture and system of each country and the challenges faced during the mission. The importance of keeping in contact through Skype sessions was stressed as very important not only with counseling for the Albanian victims, but also between the managers as a peer group friendship support.
Achievements: Development, Bonding within staffs, Empowerment, Collaboration.
The final session of this workshop was to set up goals for the follow up of this event.
The CEO’s of Medaille Trust, D&E, Metropolitan Police and the Manager of MWW Group outcomes were:
–          Expand our collaboration cross border through online assistance;
–          Work to find funds for having another similar workshop for the next year;
–          The Metropolitan Police will use their media facilities to promote the collaboration in the UK, Albania will raise awareness for further similar cross border collaboration.
It was an important experience to have and it was a very enriching professional experience. The facilitators were excellent and provided techniques and information to be implemented with the MWW staff in our everyday works. We were both very pleased and thankful that it was made possible to have this experience.
With gratitude, Ana Stakaj & Irena Kraja

Churches Call on the EU for Action on a Wider Front


COMECE-CEC Dialogue Seminar on Human trafficking
An estimated 800,000 women, men, and children are victims of human trafficking within the EU today. Up to 60% of the victims originate from EU states. The EU and its member states urgently need to implement the legal framework already in place and to intensify cooperation with civil society and church organisations that work with victims at the grassroots level. This was one of the main messages of the Dialogue Seminar organised by COMECE and the Church and Society Commission of CEC in cooperation with CCME in dialogue with the EU Commission on 27 November.
Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery, a criminal activity, and a lucrative global enterprise. An estimated 16% of victims are children, and they can be sold for up to 40.000 EUR. In addition to sexual exploitation, forced labour and domestic workers, human trafficking is also taking new forms such as for reproductive purposes, including surrogacy and illegal adoption.
Click here to read more: Churches Call on the EU for Action on a Wider Front
Click here to find out who was present: List of Participants
Source: COMECE website

5th Annual International Symposium on Preventing Human Trafficking


Delegates from RENATE attended the Symposium in Brussels, on Thursday, 27th November 2014, where practitioners, senior officials, non-state actors and policy/decision makers at EU, national, regional and local levels in Europe gathered to share best practice, develop and progress multi-agency work and encourage greater political will to properly recognise the needs of all victims of human trafficking.
In addition to raising awareness of the various dimensions of human trafficking and examining the needs of the victims of human trafficking, delegates had the opportunity to consider the following;

  1. European Approaches and Perspectives to tackle Human Trafficking.
  2. Cross-Border Law Enforcement and Prosecution of Traffickers.
  3. Protecting Vulnerable Groups and Raising Awareness; The Need for a Victim-Centred Approach.
  4. Improving Cooperation Amongst Key Actors at International level.

We had the opportunity to exchange ideas and engage in thought-provoking topical debate as the Symposium presented on the need for Policy development through to current research findings in the topic of human trafficking.

Progress on prosecution and conviction remains problematic because of the complex nature of cases, according to Ms. Ieke Vries, researcher at the office of the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children. A key finding of her research is the centrality of the recruitment process, as this lies at the start of the human trafficking process. The research states that three aspects of the recruitment process must be taken into account in order to guide anti-trafficking measures worldwide;
1. location;
2. the modus operandi of recruiters;
3. the roles and characteristics of recruiters and traffickers in general.
Following discussions, all present agreed the need for, and the value of, greater cooperation between national and international agencies. An additional proposal from the group discussions was the need to raise public awareness about trafficking and improve training in order to better identify victims. It was interesting to note the extent to which criminal groups and traffickers have become much more efficient in the use of technology as a means to recruit and traffic victims. This in turn poses serious challenges to police and other relevant services, but this is not insurmountable. In our work against human trafficking, we  can better use the technology to network together, as well as interfacing with and keeping in contact with rehabilitated victims over longer periods of time.
The term ‘’Follow the money’’ was repeated time and time again by Ms. Chloe Briere, Ph.D. Fellow at the Global Studies Institute, University de Geneve. Her research confirms the free movement of persons within and beyond the European Union has created opportunities for increased criminal activities, including trafficking. A crucial value for traffickers is the money they can generate and Ms. Briere’s research indicates the value of minimising the traffickers ability to make money from trafficking as being a significant deterrent.

RENATE Members at the 5th International Symposium on Preventing HT
RENATE Members at the 5th International Symposium on Preventing HT

We all shared Dr. Carrie Pemberton-Ford’s view that our aspiration when working with victims of human trafficking, should be that they deserve nothing less than a flourishing future. Arising from discussions, she told us how easily the issue of forced labour can be neglected because it can be so easily hidden behind the term employment. We also voiced the concerns at the unacceptably poor levels of resourcing and professional supports to victims e.g. interpretation, translation and funding/budgets to first-responders in several EU-countries.
Clear, ethical issues of corporate social responsibility were considered during the day, with questions raised about who will step into the breach now that Mare Nostrum is being phased out. This is likely to be a key issue for discussion at the forthcoming UNHCR meetings on the 10th and 11th of December next. We cannot expect private shipping vessels to replace the work of protecting and rescuing, hence the repeated emphasis on constantly improving cooperation and collaboration amongst the key actors at national and international levels.
There was consensus on the importance of supporting the re-integration of victims, as a moral, social and ethical responsibility. ECAT (European Communities against Trafficking) have completed a two-year, EU funded research project which examined what actions are being taken by one hundred companies and businesses in the UK, to socially re-integrate and provide employment opportunities for victims of trafficking. The research will be widely available following its official launch in early December.
Dr. Pemberton-Ford reminded all of us that we should acknowledge the great people (mostly women) on whose shoulders we stand in our work. They have opened minds and eyes for the work that has to be done to fight Human Trafficking.
A key feature of the Symposium was the importance of making contacts, in the expectation that greater collaboration will take place amongst all who work with a common vision. There was a strongly held belief that if we work together, we will work smarter in our efforts to prevent, protect and prosecute. Strengthening partnerships takes time, but for many present, the Symposium provided a powerful opportunity to establish links, the first building blocks for collaboration and cooperation.
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

COMECE Dialogue Seminar: Fighting against Trafficking in Human Beings


The Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community – COMECE – held an evening dialogue seminar on Wednesday, 26th November, 2014 at which RENATE representatives were present.
The topic of debate was ”Fighting against Trafficking in Human Beings: a Joint Effort”.  The key presenters were Sr. Eugenia Bonetti, President of Slaves No More & winner of the European Citizen Prize, 2013; Dr. Aidan McQuade, Director Anti-Slavery International & Ms. Annie Morris, Counter Trafficking and Training Focal Point for the International Organisation for Migration.
The substance of the three presentations was the extent to which we as citizens, need to take more action to heighten peoples’ awareness of human trafficking, how it begins, where it is manifest and what measures need to be taken to stop this crime against the dignity of the human person.
A critical consideration by Dr. McQuade was that NGO’s and governmental institutions are misplaced in their focus on actual victims, when instead his fundamental tenet proposes that we would be better placing our attention on prevention in the first place.
Sr. Bonetti passionately drew from her life-time of experiences working in the area of human trafficking and she repeatedly called upon all present to collaborate together to create a powerful force working against such evil. A particular concern is with those who are held in detention centres,  without any supports or possibilities of a future, as a result of the complicated legal frameworks around migration and asylum.

Mrs. Ivonne van de Kar and Sr. Eugenia Bonetti at COMECE Debate in Brussels, 26th December 2014
Mrs. Ivonne van de Kar and Sr. Eugenia Bonetti at COMECE Debate in Brussels, 26th November 2014

Ms. Morris illustrated the projects of the Counter Trafficking and International Organisation for Migration in the UK, which focused on practical considerations when assisting migrants.
One of the main messages from the evening was the urgency of need for the European Union to implement the existing legal framework and to deepen cooperation with civil society and faith-based organisations which work with victims at grassroots level.
Extensive experiences in advocacy and policy formation informed the conversations, with a call for greater protection of victims of human trafficking, through more pro-active implementation of existing legislation. The evening also lent strength to the call for constant updating of data and legislation itself, to cater for the new forms of human trafficking such as for reproductive purposes, organ removal and illegal adoption.
The need for ongoing financial support of civil society and church organisations was emphasised.
The evening was a wonderful opportunity to network and share in the dialogue amongst faith-based organisations.
Some questions were posed to the accuracy of the numbers of victims mentioned. While it is almost impossible to find exact numbers. Dr. Mc Quade referred to the ILO studies that are likely to give  the most accurate numbers.
In response to the complexity and seriousness of the concerns and issues raised during the evening, in the coming weeks COMECE intends to provide the European Union Commission with a compilation of their proposals and recommendations to fight human trafficking.
Sr. Eugenia Bonetti and Sr. Marie Helene Halligon at COMECE Debate in Brussels, 26th December 2014
Sr. Eugenia Bonetti and Sr. Marie Helene Halligon at COMECE Debate in Brussels, 26th November 2014

* Sr. Eugenia represents the Anti-Trafficking desk at the Italian Conference of Women religious.  At a practical level, Sr. Bonetti has organised to have over 200 shelters based in the houses of religious congregations in Italy and every Saturday, she accompanies her sisters in visitation of trafficked women who are now housed in detention centres in Rome, awaiting processing.
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person
Useful links:
COMECE_official summary of the evening debate_26th Nov 2014_Brussels
Recordings of Fr. Patrick H. Daly, Sr. Eugenia Bonetti MC, Dr Aidan McQuade, Annie Morris, José Luis Bazán.

Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery


For the first time in history, leaders of the world’s largest faiths have come together. Their goal is to end slavery.
Committed to the dignity and freedom that is the birthright of all humankind, Catholic, Anglican, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, and Orthodox leaders have signed a Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery on World Day for the Abolition of Slavery.
Will you join with them and sign a declaration to end slavery once and for all?
Click here to sign Declaration

Report from RENATE Training in Romania 2nd – 7th November 2014


A week-long training programme on Labour Trafficking & Migration took place in Romania from 2nd to 7th November 2014, funded by the RENATE sponsors.
This was part of RENATE’s ongoing commitment to research, skills and information-sharing throughout the Network, in support of its vision to work to end Human Trafficking and exploitation.
Forty members of RENATE – religious and their co-workers – gathered at the Carmelite Monastery Conference and Retreat Centre, Snagov, near Bucharest to learn about the issue as well as to reflect and strengthen the bonds that support the Network.
Sr. Imelda Poole, President of RENATE presented an image of the Nautilus during her introductory remarks, as a comparable example of how RENATE continues to evolve. Just as the Nautilus continues to grow by means of growing a new shell on the back of previous shells, so too does RENATE develop. Deepening, evolving and building upon the foundations and previous work of others.
A comprehensive programme was prepared, covering the following;

  1. Migration & Forced Labour across Europe.
  2. Labour Exploitation/ Trafficking for Forced labour.
  3. Profile of Victims of Trafficking; E.U. Estimated Figures and Statistics.
  4. Identification of Victims of Trafficking- Formal & Informal; Pro-active Identification.
  5. Trans-national Mechanisms of Identification & Referral; Exchange of Sensitive Information.
  6. Social Inclusion & Re-integration of Victims of Trafficking; Personalised Care Intervention.
  7. Victims of Trafficking / Witness co-ordination programme.
  8. Multi-disciplinary and Multi-agency Co-operation.
  9. Prevention Initiatives.
  10. Trafficking for Forced Labour with a Focus on Identification, Referral, Protection & Assistance provided to Victims of Trafficking; Co-operation.
  11. Meeting with Victims of Trafficking at the Reaching Out shelter.

In addition to training in the above areas, stimulating learning took place at the hour-long ‘Market Place’ meetings each evening. Each ‘Market station’ provided opportunities for members to share resources, skills and knowledge of work at local level with each other. This time meant that best practices were shared in work done to combat human trafficking and care for victims.

The specific presentations provided by the trainers, are accessible on the members area of the RENATE website, with the substance of the training and interactions forming the body of the Report.
Mass was celebrated at the start of each day. The Liturgy was prepared by Sr. Gabriela Korn.
Daily Theological Reflections, available on the Members’ area of the RENATE website, were led by Sr. Juliet Ory.
For the Reaching Out Shelter, the members travelled to meet with Mrs. Jana Matei, Director of the programme. Along with a ‘cultural’ tour of Bucharest, this was one of the special highlights of the training programme. Members met Mrs. Jana Matei and young women victims of trafficking who are being re-habilitated at the ‘shelter.’  Mrs. Matei’s commitment and care for these young women is striking. Clearly, her positive encouragement and support of them has empowering impact as they are gradually finding their confidence and recovering their self-esteem.

Each working day commenced with Theological Reflections, prepared by Sr. Juliet Ory. This focus for the work of RENATE followed the methodology of ‘The Pastoral Cycle.’ Through these reflections, members were invited to “… bring a faith perspective to the realities we look at in order to work for social justice.” (Rev. Fr. James Hug, SJ) Members reflected on the perennial questions “What are we doing?” and “What more can we do for systemic justice for victims of human trafficking?”
Specific presentations, provided by the trainers, are accessible on the Members’ area of the RENATE website, a general overview follows.
Read more here:
Report on RENATE Training in Romania_1st December 2014_website

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2nd December


The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, marks the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others of 2 December 1949.
The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
Click here for more information: International Day for the Abolition of Slavery