2022 Assembly


New Legislation in Lithuania for Identification of Victims of HT


In Lithuania, new legislation comprising the Identification of Victims of Human-Trafficking, Recommendations for the Pre-trial Investigation and Inter-institutional Collaboration was signed into law at the General Prosecutor’s Department of the Lithuanian Republic (LR) on the 12th of December, 2015.
Natalja Kurcinskaja, Director of the Missing Persons’ Families Support Centre, in Vilnius, Lithuania shares her report on the introduction of recent legislation in Lithuania which is intended to combat human trafficking and support victims.
News from Lithuania delivered by Mrs. Natalja Kurcinskaja, MPFSC
Adapted and amended by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

RENATE Funding Supports Successful Capacity Building with Different & Equal Staff


Tirana, Albania, 10th-11th December, 2015
A grant from RENATE assisted the staff of the charity, Different and Equal, to attend a Retreat together at the end of the calendar year, 2015.
The purpose of the Retreat was to review the work of the past year, acknowledge and celebrate all that had been achieved and build capacity amongst the team in order to meet the challenges of the work in the following year.
Comprising discussion, analysis and reflection, 22 staff members engaged in a series of staff development activities, led by Egla Lula and Mariana Meshi, Director, Different and Equal.
Mariana Meshi said “…the retreat is a valuable opportunity to get to know each another as colleagues on a personal level, which is otherwise impossible due to the demands of daily work with the victims of human trafficking”.
The final component of the Capacity Building exercise was a Christmas dinner held on the 29th December. The dinner provided the charity with the opportunity to express appreciation and gratitude to all the staff for the work of the year.
Full Report is available on the Members Area.
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Sr. Viktorija Šimić Takes a Proactive Lead in Raising Awareness of HT in Croatia


Sr. Viktorija invited the Archbishop of her Diocese, Đuro Hranić, to write a letter to all the parish priests in the Diocese, informing them of her work in prevention and awareness-raising about Human Trafficking. The Archbishop positively responded to her offer of being available to visit each of their parishes where she could give a presentation on human trafficking and lead the adoration afterwards, in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
In his communication to all the parish priests, the Archbishop referred to Sr. Viktorija’s congregation and her membership of RENATE. He wrote of her excellent work in having already visited 10 parishes in the Diocese, where she informed the congregations about trafficking in human beings and led the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament afterwards.
To further emphasise the importance of this work, most of content of the Archbishop’s letter to the parish priests has been posted to the website of IKA (Catholic Press Agency, The Archbishop has also spoken about the subject when interviewed by the Croatian Catholic Radio.
In light of her parish visitations, the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross Congregation in Croatia (approx. 350 Sisters) have invited Viktorija to share her knowledge and information with them and to lead them in prayer and reflection. Thus, over the period of the congregation’s Annual Retreat, Sr. Viktorija will present her two-hour programme to groups of 30-50 sisters, in afternoons and evenings of the Retreat. Following the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament where the Sisters will offer prayers for the prevention of Human Trafficking, there will be a screening of the film “Ballerina”.
RENATE wish to thank Sr. Viktorija for sharing her story and taking initiative to be proactive in raising the issue of human trafficking. RENATE wishes her, every blessing in her ministry, which is inspirational.
Adapted and amended by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

COMECE Debate in Brussels: Integration of Migrants, a Catholic Perspective


Report from Sr. Andrea Tillmanns, who attended the COMECE evening debate in Brussels, 1st December, 2015
People migrate for a variety reasons. Today an increasing number of people are driven from their homeland by poverty or by despair concerning the economic or social prospects for themselves or their families. In 2015, welcoming migrants, asylum seekers and refugees became an urgent challenge, especially for Member States with external borders in the EU. The greater challenge however, is the long-term integration of migrants and refugees into their new home societies and respective labour markets.

Speakers at the COMECE Debate in Brussels
Speakers at the COMECE Debate in Brussels

On the 1st of December 2015, in an evening debate, COMECE brought together a variety of people from Catholic communities across Europe with a view to deepening the understanding of the complex challenges involved in integrating migrants into the host societies. The aim was to discuss models of integration, best practices, and the fundamental values that guide integration within the European Union. The participants were Mr. Martin Wilde, Association of Catholic Entrepreneurs (BKU) of Germany, Fr. Arun Alphonse, OFM, St. Anthony´s Parish of Kraainen-Brussels, Mr. Sergio Barciela, Migration and Inclusion Caritas Spain and Fr. Damian Cichy, SVD, Wyszynski-University, Fu Shenfu Migrant Center, Warsaw. The evening was moderated by Fr. Patrick H. Daly, General Secretary, COMECE.
Fr. Patrick H. Daly, General Secretary, COMECE
Fr. Patrick H. Daly, General Secretary, COMECE

Mentoring clusters
Mr. Martin Wilde as the first speaker, presented models of integration in the labour market of Germany. So far this year, Germany has welcomed 1 million people, 70-80 % without formation. The integration process is focusing on the following areas: language, assessing professional competences, pre-qualifying, formal professional competences and cultural-civic education. According to Mr. Wilde, it is crucial that every migrant has somebody to accompany him or her, as mentor and guide (voluntary social mentoring). Examples of such “mentoring clusters” are companies, chambers of commerce, social welfare institutions and educational institutions. To illustrate his idea, he shared his experiences of a local cooperation cluster project in Stuttgart, Germany, between Caritas, pre-qualification centres and companies.
Migration in Poland
Fr. Damian Cichy especially emphasized the pastoral dimension of the integration of migrants. Fr. Cichy stated that although Poland is new to welcoming migrants, he presented his work in the Fu Shenfu Migrant Centre in Warsaw, where he ministers specifically to Chinese and Vietnamese people.
“The other big part of our work is to change the mentality of the Polish people. We must give the message to the people that migrants have more positive than negative effects for the country.”
No ‘we’ and ‘they’
According to Fr. Arun Alphonse, “As Catholics, there is no ’we’ and ’they’. Our Christian identity does not know borders; we are all brothers and sisters. Our mission is kindness, mercy and compassion.” He told us to also be as migrants. “We all are pilgrims and strangers in this world.” For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. (…)” Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25, 35-36; 40)
In the integration process, according to Fr. Alphonse, one of the main problems experienced by migrants is that of identity crisis. We must limit the impacts of the cultural shock; in this context, religion has an important role to play. Only after a cultural stabilization of the migrant in his origin culture, can we take the second step: integration in the new culture of the host country.
Identity crisis
The evening was closed by Mr. Sergio Barciela of Caritas Spain. In his view, the three main working fields in the integration of migrants are: the economic and social aspects (health, housing, work etc.), identity and civil society and finally political questions (human rights, participation in elections etc.). We need activities in all these three fields to realise a real and durable integration.
Mr. Barciela thinks that in Spain, both the migrants and the Spanish people face an identity crisis, especially because of the recent economic crisis which has so badly affected Spain. “Only personal relations protect the people from prejudices. They, migrants and host people, must meet a face.”
At the end, we can already state that close cooperation exists between public authorities at all levels in civil society. Churches and religious communities continue to strengthen responses to the crisis. Additionally, the Christian approach obliges us to see every migrant as a person, “a child of God”, with his or her inviolable human dignity. To welcome them in their need and suffering is a divine commandment.
Written by Sr. Andrea Tillmanns, RGS

Adapted and amended by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December 2015


“This year’s International Day for the Abolition of Slavery comes as the international community is intensifying efforts to eradicate poverty and forge a post-2015 development agenda. In pursuing these goals, it is vital that we give special consideration to ending modern-day slavery and servitude which affects the poorest, most socially excluded groups  including migrants, women, discriminated ethnic groups, minorities and indigenous peoples.
There has been important progress in the last year. A number of countries have acted to combat slavery through stronger domestic legislation and greater coordination. More and more businesses are working to ensure their activities do not cause or contribute to contemporary forms of slavery in the workplace and their supply chains.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery 2 December 2013
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 (-> resolution 317(IV) of 2 December 1949).
The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, child labour, forced marriage, slavery at sea and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
These types of slavery are global problems and contravene Art. 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that ‘’…no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.’’
A number of awareness-raising activities are taking place worldwide, to mark the day.
For more information, please see:
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person