2022 Assembly


Ending Modern Slavery: Everyone Has a Role and Everyone Can Help Prevention


18.10.2015 in AlbaniaOn the European Day Against Human Trafficking, October 18th, activities took place with the MWL Women’s groups, in Tropoja, Hot i Ri, Kallmet, Fier, and Shendelli. Men joined the activities as well, joining in with their role in prevention and combating Modern Day Slavery.
These activities consisted of awareness raising on the phenomena of human trafficking, training on identification of potential victims, how to avoid risk, prayers for the victims and round table discussions. The national helpline number for reporting potential human trafficking cases was distributed to many as part of the campaigns. The 128 participants realised the necessity to learn more about this phenomena which puts the safety of their children at risk.
An emphasis was put on the Modern Day Slavery concept in order to have a better understanding of trafficking in persons. A video of statistics around Europe was shown to give a general idea on the phenomena. Three scenarios/stories of trafficked victims were shared with the students in Kallmet, who were divided into three groups. Various opinions and thoughts were shared by the participants, who were all very active. Through the stories it became clear who are the possible traffickers and who are the possible victims and how to assist the trafficked victims.
Young women in the groups were encouraged to be positive and to express themselves in this social atmosphere. They learned new ways of being successful in their lives which are full of challenges. They engaged themselves in the meetings, shared and exchanged details of school life which could put them at risk.
Round table discussions and powerful stories were shared during the meeting conducted at Mary Ward Loreto Centre in the small village of Shendelli. Through emotional speeches and tears sometimes, they committed themselves to fight Modern Day Slavery, to be saviors and not victims, through raising awareness in their families and community. They shared their challenges and highlighted the power of maternal energy that gives them the strength to protect their families.
In the end of the meeting in Shendelli, everyone felt free to light a candle and make a prayer at the small church of the village, as a symbol of Saving Victims and being a light for their support!
The young women of Tropoja decided to pray and light candles at the Saint Anthony Church in Laç, which is known in Albania as a special place of pilgrimage. All were dressed in white to show their solidarity for the victims of human trafficking.
Women and men in Fier joined in prayers in the church of Fier and lit candles. After the Mass, they came with the need to learn more about Modern Day Slavery, and a meeting took place with the women.
Prepared by the Key Workers of MWL Women

RENATE Training for Transformation & Board Meeting in Ireland


A RENATE Training for Transformation for the members of RENATE Working Board has now been organised and takes place in Dublin, Ireland, from 26th till 28th October 2015. The training is led by Mr. Frank Naughton and Ms. Maureen Sheehy from the Partners Training for Transformation. There are 23 participants from sixteen European countries.
The training will be followed by a short Working Board Meeting from 29th till 30th October, at which three staff members of RENATE will be present too. It is planned that during this time there will be an opportunity to experience the work of the Irish organisations working in the field of anti-trafficking and to learn from them of the challenges which they face and the actions being taken. The Working Board is privileged to have the opportunity to become exposed to a new cultural reality.

Reflection on Events in Croatia Organised on the 18th of October 2015


18th October 2015, European Anti-Human Trafficking Day
On the occasion of the European Anti-Human Trafficking Day, our informal Anti-Human Trafficking Network, established during the implementation of the project Raising Awareness of Religious Communities in Croatia of the Issue of Human Trafficking (especially Women)”, participated in a one-day conference in Slovenia. In addition to the one-day Conference, Prayer initiatives and activities were organised in Zagreb.

Figure 1. Sr. Ljubica, Sr. Stanka, Anita and Ana in Slovenia
Figure 1. Sr. Ljubica, Sr. Stanka, Anita and Ana in Slovenia

Four women members of the Network participated in the second day of a Conference focused on the issues of modern slavery and  law enforcement, organised by the Medaille Trust, a UK Charity, from the 12th to the 16th of October, 2015.
At the Conference, opportunities to hear about the difficulties faced by institutions and organisations involved in this issue were heard, as well as efforts and successes achieved. Sr. Stanka had the opportunity to speak about the situation in Croatia and to present her Project and Network. She reports “My colleagues and I were surprised and inspired by the positive atmosphere at the Conference, in spite of it being a difficult topic and subject matter.”
Figure 2. Ana, Sr. Stanka, Jitka and Young People from Croatian Red Cross at the Flower Square in Zagreb
Figure 2. Ana, Sr. Stanka, Jitka and Young People from Croatian Red Cross at the Flower Square in Zagreb

“On Saturday 17th October 2015, at the Flower Square in the Centre of Zagreb, Ms. Ana Sekelj and I from the Network, together with representatives from the Office for Human Rights and National Minorities of the Croatian Government, the Ministry of the Interior, a network of non-governmental organizations PETRA, Croatian Red Cross and the City Red Cross Society, presented our work, commitment, initiatives, brochures and symbolic items. Through this joint display, we informed the citizens of Zagreb on the issue of human trafficking. You can see and hear all about it by logging on to the National Croatian Radio and Television.” [34:00 – 36:15]
Figure 3. St. Blaise Parish in Zagreb
Figure 3. St. Blaise Parish in Zagreb

Sr. Stanka says “On Sunday 18th October 2015, in the convent of my Congregation, the Sisters of Notre Dame, we had a Prayer Service at noon for all the victims of modern slavery.
In the evening, in the Parish of St. Blaise, from 19:30-22:00, together with the pro-life prayer movement “Consolers of Merciful Jesus”, we organized a prayer vigil and adoration for all victims of modern slavery, for the unborn children and for every human life. The text of the prayer vigil will be broadcasted on radio station Radio Maria, at 20:00 on the first Friday in the November (6th November), so believers throughout Croatia can join in this prayer initiative. We believe that prayer-support is the strongest and most powerful mean of combating trafficking in human beings. We also believe that God is the only one who first hears the cry of all the victims and who helps all institutions and individuals who are committed to heal the deepest wounds in humanity.”
Sr. Stanka Oršolić
Article edited by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Ian Urbina, New York Times Journalist Shares with us Some Developments


Ian Urbina, New York Times journalist shares with us some small developments related (at least tangentially) to The Outlaw Ocean series, which has featured as News items on the RENATE website during the Summer months, 2015. (29th July, 2015: Criminality at Sea, Involving Trafficking and the Exploitation of Human Beings)

Firstly, the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently offered more insight on his hopes and plans for improving policing at sea. He gave this input in a couple of interviews with the Times. During the ‘’Our Ocean’’ conference in Chile, he also riffed a little on the sea slaves story. But more importantly he ended by saying that he intends to make the topic a focus of next year’s conference.

The US Senate caucus on Human Trafficking held a fascinating panel on the role the U.S. government might play through marketplace leverage. Two ideas discussed: stricter traceability rules on seafood imported to the U.S., and raising the bar on transparency and labour standards for the more than $300 million worth of seafood bought by U.S. agencies.

Lastly, this week, a court in Sao Tome and Principe convicted the three officers of the Thunder. This was the pirate fishing ship at the top of Interpol’s Most Wanted list and which the Sea Shepherd pursued relentlessly on the high seas.

A conviction such as this is a fairly rare occurrence, since so few of these notorious scofflaws are apprehended or prosecuted. It is heartening to know that some of the documents seized on The Thunder are now being used by Spain and other countries to target the criminal syndicates tied to illegal fishing on the high seas.


Adapted and compiled by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Let’s Open our Ears to their Cries and Respond, Stop Human Trafficking


The Holy Father’s Universal Prayer Intention for October is “that Human Trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated”. With Pope Francis’ intention to guide us, the RENATE campaign of activities and events to mark the 18th of October, is presented in the following overview: 18th October 2015_stories and actions from RENATE Network
You will see from the wide variety of activities throughout the RENATE Network that there are actions to suit every capacity. Join us in our endeavours to stop Human Trafficking.
Each and every effort, will make a big difference to those in need.
Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

International Day of the Girl Child, 11th October, 2015


On the 19th of December, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170, declaring the 11th of October as the International Day of the Girl Child.
The day promotes girls’ human rights and helps raise awareness about all issues concerning gender inequality worldwide.
“In 2015, girls in the first decade of their lives are more likely to enrol in primary school, receive key vaccinations and are less likely to suffer from health and nutrition problems than were previous generations” (
While acknowledging the progress that has been made by the global community in improving the lives of girls in the first decade of their lives, much more work needs to be done to support girls to safely navigate their way through adolescence, ensuring they access quality education, access full information and services related to puberty and reproductive health and acquire abilities to protect themselves from gender-based violence.
Through informing and empowering adolescent girls and young women, RENATE believes it is possible to reduce the numbers who fall victim to human trafficking and exploitation.
Further information at:
Written by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Report on a Work Trip from Bratislava to Uzhgorod and Lviv in the Ukraine


Sr Bohdana Bezáková travelled to Lviv, for a meeting with Sr Valentyna Ryabushko, secretary to the Conference of Female Religious Superiors of the Greek Catholic Church in the Ukraine, 22 September, 2015. In total, her journey took 8 hours!
In Lviv, Bohdana gave a presentation on human trafficking to the members of the male and female religious institutes of the Greek Catholic Church. She also provided information on the RENATE network and the various initiatives undertaken in the areas of prevention and supports to victims of human trafficking.

Meeting with Church representatives in the Ukraine, 22-26 September 2015
Meeting with Church representatives in the Ukraine,         22nd-26th September 2015

Of particular importance was the time spent in conversation regarding the possibilities of a delegate becoming a member of RENATE from the Conference of Female Religious Superiors (KVPŽR) and Conference of Religious Superiors (KVRP) of the Greek Catholic Church in Ukraine, Bohdana also had the opportunity to meet with a psychologist, Oleksandra Yakymets, who provides courses aimed at trauma therapy in Ukraine, particularly provided to victims of trafficking who have returned to Ukraine and join the reintegration programme.
For her it was particularly valuable to spend time in meetings and negotiations with the Secretary of KVRP of the Greek Catholic Church which involved planning specific steps to implement prevention and awareness-raising activities in collaboration with RENATE and Caritas Slovakia. Bohdana also enjoyed meeting with activists in the parish and volunteers working in the children’s home who are implementing prevention programmes at school dormitories and children´s homes in Ukraine.
Sr Valentyna Ryabushko, RSM and Sr Bohdana Bezáková, CJ
          Sr Valentyna Ryabushko, RSM           and Sr Bohdana Bezáková, CJ

Click here to read more about the outcomes following the visit and meeting in Ukraine: Report on a Work Trip from Bratislava to Uzhgorod and Lviv in the Ukraine

Compiled by Bohdana Bezáková, CJ
Adapted and prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Refugees Help MWL Staff Understand Better the Reality of the Crisis Today


The National Reception Centre for Refugees in Albania is in Babrru, Tirana. This centre is supported from the state budget and by the ministry of social welfare, with 15 staff members who offer all services: food, clothing, health care, education for children and integration into the albanian society. Food costs are provided by the state budget, who give approximately 3 dollars a day. Although this is not much it helps. Support also comes from other organizations such as the United Nations aid to Refugees organization which operates in Albania. (UNHCR) The link to this agency in the Balkans is: The process of their local integration is still a difficult challenge and a joint effort takes place between the stakeholders: refugees, public authorities, non-governmental organizations and foreign agencies.
Once the refugees have been registered and received the necessary immediate support such as legal aid, medical, both psychological and physical help, and the necessary financial aid, they either leave the centre to move on to a further country or they are housed in private accommodation which is self-financed or supported by NGOs. The centre in Babrru was opened in 2014. In this centre are all the refugees who are applying for asylum in Albania, mainly for political reasons.  The refuges over the past year have come from many countries such as Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria and Kosovo (these are regarding the present conflict between Serbia and Kosovo).
The highest number of refugees which they have had in the camp at any one time was 170 refugees. This was in February when a large number of Syrian refugees came to the camp.  At the moment there are 56 refugees in the camp, either as individuals or as a family, this includes a newly born baby who has special services. Right now there are 3 Syrians in the camp, last week there were 32 Syrians who left after they had received their initial papers. This gave them the freedom to travel through Albania and in to another country.
It should be said that in all this chaos, there were no identified cases of trafficking, however there were immigrants violated along the way and who could have been in the hands of traffickers and who were in trauma on arrival and are receiving psychological assistance. One girl from Afghanistan, whom we met, had a terrible rash all over her body, a distinct sign of being in post trauma.
Click here to read the entire Report on Visit to the Reception Centre for Refugees in Babrru, Albania written by Sr. Imelda Poole, IBVM & Manushaqe Cypi.