Ending Human Trafficking Begins with Us
resounded in Rome, on the final days of this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, November 2016. The theme was endorsed by 130 RENATE delegates (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation) from 27 European countries at their 2nd General Assembly, 6-12 November.
Please click below to read the:
Assembly Statement signed in English
Assembly Statement signed in French
Assembly Statement signed in Italian
Assembly Statement signed in Spanish
Assembly Statement signed in Polish
This is the third year of the film festival Together against Trafficking. After two previous succesful years in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, and Košice, the second largest city in Slovakia, we decided to bring the festival to Banská Bystrica in 2016, as the region is one with the most frequent cases of human trafficking. The festival took place on Friday 21st of October, in recognition of the European day against Human Trafficking ( 18th October).
The film festival about a multi- bilion euro crime industry is unique to Slovakia. Each year, it takes place in a new location, with a different emphasis. This year we particularly focused on the stories of victims – Slovaks, who fell into traffickers´ nets and on the value of each human life, without exception. Films faithfully illustrate the effects of exploitation on the lives of the victims as well as the difficulties with regaining their self-value and dignity.
In spite of the intensity of the festival theme, presented via films, pictures and discussions, the festival was surrounded in a strong atmospehere of hope, help and resistence against this phenomenon. We felt it in the new film MADE IN: God´s Image by the Slovak director – Sr. Iva Kúšiková – where the role of church is obvious in combatting Human Trafficking.
Another ray of hope was to be seen in the collection of photographs entitled Life after Trafficking, depicting 12 survivors who in their own words, conveyed a strong desire for a new life.
We felt empowered by the discussions with workers who actively help the survivors to overcome those sad stories. We are grateful for their zeal in fighting this problem. We are also grateful that they share their experience and knowledge which greatly helps in awareness raising so that oher potential victims might be spared and protected. Please click here to read the full report …
RENATE Assembly 7th November 2016
RENATE Members had a special meeting with the Holy See, on Monday, in the Vatican. It was a great honor for RENATE to have been received by Pope Francis and be able to greet His Holiness in person. This was a joyful day for each of us during the 2nd European Assembly week in Rome.
RENATE Assembly 6th November 2016
RENATE members speak with journalists at Vatican radio, 5 th of November, 2016, at the 2nd RENATE Assembly, “Ending Trafficking Begins with US.”
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Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE, speak about the 2nd RENATE Assembly, ” Ending Trafficking begins with US.”
BBC Radio York
Ivonne van de Kar, an anti-trafficking advocate from the Netherlands, is seen at the Vatican press hall with Sister Monica Chikwe, a member of the Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy, who works with trafficked Nigerian women, Nov. 4. (CNS photo / Carol Glatz)
Women religious are often the first people to discover problems emerging in society because they work directly with so many people in need, an anti-trafficking advocate said.
However, because religious focus more on providing assistance than publicizing their efforts, the rest of the world is often slower to catch on to where there is trouble, said Ivonne van de Kar, the coordinator of the Foundation of Religious Against Trafficking of Women in the Netherlands.
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These are religious around the world who fight against modern slavery. The president of this organization, RENATE, thanked Pope Francis for the opportunity to have this meeting.
“Holy Father. We, RENATE, Religious in Europe Networking against Trafficking and Exploitation, we want to thank you for giving us your time and your presence in the midst of your very busy schedule.”
They not only greeted the pope with affection, but they also thanked him for his commitment to combat human trafficking and exploitation.
Pope Francis recalled that this modern slavery is a crime against humanity.
Please click the link below to read more:
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RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking against Trafficking and Exploitation) has welcomed 130 members from 27 countries to Rome for their second European Assembly (6-12 November) where they are reflecting, learning, dialoguing and sharing best practices in their work to combat human trafficking and exploitation.
Among those attending the RENATE Assembly are Lynda Dearloversm (GB Institute, Women@theWell), Mary Ryan rsm (The Congregation) and Denise Boyle fmdm (Mercy Global Action).
Sr Denise writes: ‘The highlight of day one of the RENATE Assembly (Religious of Europe Network Against Trafficking and Exploitation) was the private audience with Pope Francis in the Vatican. All the participants boarded the coaches with great excitement and anticipation. After a circuitous route to St. Peter’s that included security checks we walked through the bronze door into the Vatican. It was almost surreal waiting in the enormous corridor beyond this, watching the Swiss guards go through their routine and knowing that very soon we would meet Pope Francis.
Finally we were walking up what seemed like endless flights of marble stairs and into the papal audience room. The Clementine is a magnificent room with a beautiful high painted ceiling. A hush descended just before Pope Francis entered, followed by a burst of applause and an enthusiastic waving of national flags. Smiling almost shyly the Pope acknowledged our greeting as he made his way to a very simple throne like chair, centred on a red dais at the front of the room.
Imelda Poole IBVM, the President of RENATE thanked Pope Francis on behalf of the organisation, citing specific ways in which he has raised awareness of human trafficking, especially the suffering of those caught up in it. She went on to say that Francis has offered tremendous support for all those working to eliminate trafficking and who support and work with survivors. The Pope listened attentively and when Imelda finished speaking he jumped up and came down to greet her warmly.
In his response Francis began by offering ‘prayerful good wishes for the fruitfulness of these days of prayer, reflection and discussion.’ Reminding us that our Assembly was taking place during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, he spoke of the invitation to ‘enter more deeply into the mystery of God’s mercy and like the Good Samaritan, to bring the balm of that mercy to so many open wounds in our world. Pope Francis believes that among the most troubling of these open wounds is the trade in modern forms of slavery.
Acknowledging that much has been accomplished, Francis said that one of the challenges we face is indifference and even complicity plus a tendency by many to look the other way, because powerful networks of crime are involved. Francis thanked us for our ‘faithful witness to the Gospel of Mercy,’ demonstrated by our commitment to the recovery and rehabilitation of victims.
Revealing his understanding of the complexity of issues related to human trafficking Francis mentioned the ‘distinctive contribution made by women in accompanying other women and children on a deeply personal journey of healing and reintegration.’ He then shared his hope that our time together during this coming week, will help us be more effective witnesses to the Gospel, ‘in one of the great peripheries of contemporary society.’ Pope Francis concluded his address by commending each one of the group ‘to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy,’ after which he gave us his papal blessing.
As the loud applause died down, members of the group presented Pope Francis with a St. Brigid’s Cross. This was accompanied by a scroll explaining how the different reeds woven into the cross reflect the 27 European countries in the RENATE network, who are all working to eradicate human trafficking.
There was more to come. With a big smile Pope Francis stood waiting as the first of the 133 participants were ushered forward to shake hands with him! When it was my turn I thanked him for his work against human trafficking and then said ‘I think you know my city Dublin, in Ireland?’ Francis nodded and then thinking for a moment said ‘yes, Milltown’ and laughed. (The Jesuit community in Milltown is where Francis stayed during the six months he was studying English back in 1980).’
Editor: Pope Francis’ Address to the members of RENATE can be read here
Messages to: Denise Boyle fmdm – Assistant Director MIA, Mercy Global Action
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(Vatican Radio) On Monday, Pope Francis spoke out against human trafficking, in an address to members of RENATE: Religious in Europe Networking against trafficking and exploitation).
The group is in Rome for their 2nd European Assembly, which took place on Sunday.
The theme of this year’s assembly was “Ending Trafficking Begins with Us.”
In his address to members of the group, Pope Francis once again denounced “the trade in human beings” as “a modern form of slavery, which violates the God-given dignity of so many of our brothers and sisters, and constitutes a true crime against humanity.” He acknowledged that much has been accomplished in educating the public about human trafficking, but said “much more needs to be done on the level of raising public consciousness” and in coordinating the various efforts of those engaged in fighting against trafficking in human persons.
The Holy Father commended the work of RENATE in raising public awareness about the extent of “this scourge which especially affects women and children.” He especially praised them for their “faithful witness to the Gospel of mercy, as demonstrated in [their] commitment to the recovery and rehabilitation of victims.” The Pope made special mention of the work of women in accompanying other women and children in the process of recovery.
Pope Francis concluded his remarks by expressing his confidence that the members of RENATE would contribute “to a more effective witness to the Gospel in one of the great peripheries of society.”
The full text of Pope Francis’ address to the Second European Assembly of Renate can be read below:
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I extend a cordial welcome to you, who are taking part in this Second Assembly of the Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation. I thank Sister Imelda Poole for her kind words of greeting on your behalf, and I offer my prayerful good wishes for the fruitfulness of these days of prayer, reflection and discussion. It is fitting that your Assembly takes place in Rome during this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. In this season of grace, all of us are invited to enter more deeply into the mystery of God’s mercy and, like the Good Samaritan, to bring the balm of that mercy to so many open wounds in our world.
One of the most troubling of those open wounds is the trade in human beings, a modern form of slavery, which violates the God-given dignity of so many of our brothers and sisters and constitutes a true crime against humanity. While much has been accomplished in acknowledging its gravity and extent, much more needs to be done on the level of raising public consciousness and effecting a better coordination of efforts by governments, the judiciary, law enforcement officials and social workers.
As you well know, one of the challenges to this work of advocacy, education and coordination is a certain indifference and even complicity, a tendency on the part of many to look the other way (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, 211) where powerful economic interests and networks of crime are at play. For this reason, I express my appreciation of your efforts to raise public awareness of the extent of this scourge, which especially affects women and children. But in a very special way, I thank you for your faithful witness to the Gospel of mercy, as demonstrated in your commitment to the recovery and rehabilitation of victims.
Your activity in this area reminds us of “the enormous and often silent efforts which have been made for many years by religious congregations, especially women’s congregations”, to care for those wounded in their dignity and scarred by their experiences (cf. Message for the 2015 World Day of Peace, 5). I think especially of the distinctive contribution made by women in accompanying other women and children on a deeply personal journey of healing and reintegration.
Dear friends, I trust that your sharing of experiences, knowledge and expertise in these days will contribute to a more effective witness to the Gospel in one of the great peripheries of contemporary society. Commending you, and all those whom you serve, to the loving intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy, I cordially impart my blessing as a pledge of joy and peace in the Lord. I will remember all of you in my prayers, and I ask you, please, to pray for me.
(from Vatican Radio)