2022 Assembly


Challenges in Fighting Human Trafficking, Relation from Lithuania


Ms Natalja Kurcinskaja, Director of The Missing Persons’ Families Support Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania, along with Ms Justina Šerėnaitė and fellow staff members, attended the Conference on “Challenges in fighting Human Trafficking”, 17th September, 2015.
Amongst the delegates were police officers, public prosecutors, representatives of the Ministry of the Interior and of the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, NGOs and representatives of local administrative institutions, all of whom considered the specific challenges faced in fighting Human Trafficking in Lithuania.
Human Trafficking in its various guises was explored, for example, minors being trafficked in order to steal and minors being trafficked in order to feature in fighting shows.
Delegates learned of the almost impregnable international infrastructure which surrounds and protects traffickers, thus making it more difficult to apprehend the perpetrators.
Considerable time was given to considering the victims of human trafficking and the extent of their traumas. The traumas can be so intense for victims that they are reluctant to make court appearances in pursuit of their traffickers. In many instances, victims are too frightened to testify or when they do and it comes to a final date for a court appearance, they change their testimonies.
The main purpose of the Conference was to maximise the potential of existing legislation to assist the organisations working to prevent human trafficking.  It was agreed that victims do not get the essential supports required because of a lack of co-ordination amongst the national institutions and NGOs.

From 23rd – 25th September, another Conference on human trafficking was held at the United States Embassy in Lithuania, again attended by representatives of the Police force, office of the Public Prosecutor, Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, NGOs and local administrative institutions.
US Federal Court Judge, Virginia Kendall, gave the keynote address, drawing from her many years of experience in working to prevent human trafficking.
Clearly there is a concerted effort being made in Lithuania, to combat and prevent human trafficking and the exploitation of persons and it is believed that collaboration and communication amongst all concerned, is key to the success into the future.
Much more information about the Missing Persons’ Families Support Centre at
Adapted and compiled by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Second Vatican Symposium for Young People


The Vatican will host its second Youth Symposium at Casina Pio on November 7th and 8th next, where youth working to support the victims of Human Trafficking and working in the areas of awareness raising and prevention, will meet to collaborate and share best practice.
We send our very best wishes to RENATE member, Sr. Stanka Oršolić, who will be representing RENATE at the Symposium. Her Human Trafficking awareness article was published in July 2015 edition of Croatian Journal New Presence: Review for Intellectual and Spiritual Questions.
In her article, Sr. Stanka provides a comprehensive overview of numerous and varied activities undertaken by the listed organisations attending the Youth Symposium at the Vatican last November. Comprising examples of preventative measures, support to victims and educational awareness-raising activities, the article is a testimony to the work and commitment of countless people who work against Human Trafficking in responding to the call ‘’Who is my mother and who are my brothers?’’ (Matthew 12:46-50).
First Youth Symposium in the Vatican_November 2014_by Sr. Stanka Oršolić
New Presence – Review for Intellectual and Spiritual Questions_magazine cover
Prvi simpozij mladih u borbi protiv prostitucije i trgovanja ljudima – najvećeg nasilja nad ljudskim bićima_by Sr. Stanka Oršolić
Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

International Symposium on Pastoral Care of Migrants and Street People in Vatican


From the 14th to the 17th of September, 2015, the Vatican held an International Symposium on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Street People.
Attendees sourced biblical foundation documents and Church Social Teaching in relation to street women and children. A plan of action emerged at the end of the Symposium as guidelines for the Church.
Panels of speakers from every continent, shared their experiences of working at ‘grass roots’ with migrants, street women and street children and their families.
Pope Francis met with the attendees, enforcing the message of human rights and dignity for all and encouraging them in their work.
Sr. Imelda Poole, IBVM, shares a comprehensive report with us, which you can find here The International Symposium on Pastoral Care of Migrants and Street People_by Imelda Poole IBVM_September 2015
Sr. Gabriella Bottani, CMS, shares her speech about Woman’s Dignity and Talitha Kum here Womans Dignity and Talitha Kum_speech of Gabriella Bottani CMS_September 2015
Plan of Action_International Symposium on the Pastoral Care of the Road – the document is the final one achieved, as a plan of action for the Church, resulting from the work at the Symposium at the Vatican on street women and children.

Bakhita Network Meeting in Poland


Is there slavery today? Yes! The polls say that there may be as many as 27 million contemporary slaves. This issue of slavery affects Poland too, though sometimes overlooked, it is very much present all around us.
These are some of the questions on the agenda of our meeting. 
Bakhita Network Meeting in Cracow, 4-5 September 2015As the Year of Mercy is approaching, Pope Francis encourages us to help suffering humanity with a renewed commitment; to open eyes to the misery of the world and the wounds of our brothers and sisters, deprived of dignity. In response to this plea, the Bakhita Network for the Prevention and Aid for the Victims of Contemporary Slavery at the Council of Major Superiors of the Women Religious, organised a training session for its members. It was held from 4th to 5th September 2015, in the Seminary of the Conventual Franciscan Friars in Cracow. Sr. Joanna Lipowska FMM, the president of the Bakhita section and Sr. Anna Bałchan SMI coordinated the meetings and workshops. Forty nine people from across Poland answered the invitation to gather for this purpose, among them forty two sisters from various religious congregations, one priest and six lay people.
The first day of lectures and workshops conducted by Sr. Anna Bałchan focused on human trafficking;  the extent of the problem; methods used by the traffickers and the suffering endured by their victims. The participants listened to some stories of those who were once enslaved.
On the second day, the session was preceded by Mass and Morning Prayer, after which the first part addressed the question of different ways to help the victims. The lectures were supported by workshops and small group work. In this way, participants learned through experience about the processes of interpersonal communication, attitudes preventing good communication, factors that help create a bond between helper and person assisted. Trainees were given tools and tips in order that they might learn ways of helping wisely. Sr. Anna shared her personal experience of caring for victims and this was a particularly valuable example.
For the second part of the meeting, Sr. Joanna Lipowska, with Mrs. Justyna Chłodny and Paulina Spratek from the Covenant of Mercy Community in Warsaw, presented a suggested campaign for 18th October – European Day against Human Trafficking. The participants had a chance to practice their skills: take on the role of people involved in the campaign, join in a pantomime, be involved while a deeply exciting project was created.
Introduction to Campaign for 18th October 2015
To complete their training, each person received a booklet with specific ‘step by step’ guide. This guide included: undertaking an action plan, instructions for coordinators, detailed description of the social, educational and artistic part of the campaign. The whole proposal contains vital elements of information, artistic expression (a pantomime, and a display) and spiritual involvement (invitation to participate in Adoration or Eucharist). The participants received materials that could be used when preparing such a campaign.
As emphasised by the authors, the base and climax of what they suggest, is a call to entrust both the victims and the perpetrators to the mercy of God: an attitude that turns helplessness into the power of prayer. Thus, the intensive training day culminated in the evening adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
A particularly valuable side of the session was the mutual understanding and cooperation of religious sisters and brothers who share the passion for serving Christ in others; the opportunity to exchange their experiences. Relationships established among the participants give hope for further cooperation to fight human trafficking and help victims. The witness of those who help victims inspired and awakened a desire to commit ourselves in the best way possible.
The meeting in Cracow was a very creative time. For that we thank God and we thank the people involved.
May the Lord guide this work and enable us to love and serve those entrusted to the Bakhita Network.
If you are interested in the topic and ready to cooperate – please Join the Bakhita Network:
Sr. Joanna Lipowska FMM