2022 Assembly


RENATE Training on Migration and Human Trafficking. Venue: the Soeterbeeck Conference Centre, Ravenstein, The Netherlands. 19-25 March, 2017.


Thirty RENATE members gathered at the Soeterbeeck Conference Centre, a former convent which has been sympathetically revived as a modern and beautiful meeting space. RENATE Board member, Ivonne van de Kar, welcomed everyone and presented an introductory contextual overview of the Netherlands in relation to working in human trafficking prevention, exploitation and supports to migrants.
During the week-long training, a wide selection of topics were presented, all of which centred on the principle theme of Migration and Trafficking. An understanding of Laudato Si and its message about understanding humanity within the wider context of care for the earth, set the tone for the week. Topics such as ‘’Special Care for Migrant Victims of Human Trafficking;’’ ‘’The Right to Protect’’ and ‘’Safe Futures and Voluntary Return’’ were explored in depth. Especially poignant and perhaps challenging, was the topic of ‘’Forgiveness’’ and its importance to healing and restoration.
Throughout the week, sharing and discussions contributed towards building deeper understandings and strengthening the network.
Full Report will be available shortly.
Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.    

RENATE member, Sr. Viktorija and her ministry of awareness-raising and prayer against Human Trafficking and Exploitation.


When people ask what can they do to help in the fight against Human Trafficking, I think of the variety of activities underway throughout the RENATE network, which both inform and inspire.
From screening the ‘RENATE film Giving Voice to the Voiceless, to running fashion shows which heighten our consciousness of the exploitation of workers in the clothing industry; from staging the UN GiftBox roadshow through to art exhibitions, films festivals  and world youth events, there is an ever-increasing array of options for pro-active people to become actively engaged in the fight against Human Trafficking.
Another example of positive action is that undertaken by RENATE member, Sr. Viktorija Šimić, from Croatia. Whilst a teacher by profession, Sr. Viktorija leaves no stone unturned when it comes to ensuring her students and their families understand the risks and dangers of Human Trafficking and exploitation.
In the wider Parish and Diocesan level, Sr. Viktorija has already given more than fifty (50) talks at Parish and community level throughout Croatia, on the topic of Human Trafficking and Exploitation.  Her talks are respectfully presented in the cradle of Mass and prayer, where congregations can feel they are making their personal contribution through the power of prayer.  
Sr. Viktorija continues her ministry at weekends, available to all who invite her to share.
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

RENATE Training on Migration and Trafficking, 19-25 March, 2017.


The Conference Centre Soeterbeeck, Ravenstein, will be the venue for the RENATE Training on Migration and Trafficking, which runs from Sunday 19 March to Saturday 25 March, 2017.

As usual, there will be an emphasis on understanding the local country’s situation in relation to Human Trafficking and Migration, and this will be the subject of Ivonne’s presentation, with particular reference to the Netherlands.   
Amongst the topics to be explored during the week, are ‘’Safe Future: Methodologies on Voluntary Return of Victims of Human Trafficking,’’ ‘’Safe return of undocumented migrants,’’ ‘’Labour exploitation of Migrants’’ and “The right to Protect.’’
Mill Bijnen will share her experiences as coordinator of a local shelter offering special care for migrant victims of Human Trafficking and Franck Ploum will guide us in Theological Reflections, preceding an exploration of ‘’The Right to Protect.’’
Participants will gain first-hand experience of the ecumenical project for refugees and undocumented people, when making the planned visit to STEK (Stad en Kerk).
A variety of training formats will be employed, including lectures, presentations, groupwork, the use of film and audio-visual aids. Sharing of best practice and opportunities to network, will be central to the training, which will conclude with panel discussions where representatives from ECPAT, Fier, Terre des Hommes and Porticus will speak to the theme of the week.
Check Facebook and Twitter for daily updates!
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.

65% of victims of trafficking registered in the EU are themselves EU citizens (European Statistics Agency)


Recent estimates from the European Statistics Agency show that 65% of victims of trafficking registered in the EU, are themselves EU citizens.  Concerns are beginning to be raised about the reinstatement of Immigration controls between the UK and Europe, and their likely impact on the identification, mobility and protection of people trafficked into the UK.
Research conducted by Katerina Hadjimatheou, Research Fellow Interdisciplinary Ethics Research Group, University of Warwick and Jennifer Lynch, Early Career Research Fellow, University of Hertfordshire, indicate that migration enforcement controls and increasingly tough border patrols are such that identification of victims is marginalised.
‘Officers looking to exclude as many illegal migrants as possible can end up focusing too much on the credibility of the travellers’ stories and not enough on their vulnerability. The consequences of the misidentification of victims of trafficking as illegal migrants can be detention, deportation and re-trafficking.’’
In anticipation of changes to Immigration and Border controls once Brexit is activated, the research calls for a broader and more evidence-based understanding of the drivers of human trafficking into the UK than heretofore.
Full article at:
Additional Research data available at:
 Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

UNCHOSEN- Stay Safe from Slavery Conference, University of Nottingham, UK, 21st June, 2017.


Focusing on Prevention, UNCHOSEN UK is bringing together experts in the anti-slavery, homeless, refugee and child-care sectors, frontline workers and academics to look at innovative ways to approach the prevention of slavery.
Amongst the speakers are: Melissa Blackburn, CEO UNCHOSEN and Julia Tomas will be speaking about the development of the new Stay Safe from Slavery project, a new pilot project focusing on the prevention of slavery in vulnerable groups in the South West of England.
Dr. Alison Gardner, Nottingham University, leads ‘slavery-free communities’, a University of Nottingham research project that aims to understand how we can create healthy and prosperous places which are resistant to modern slavery.
Darryl Dixon, director of strategy for the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, soon to become the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), with a wider remit in labour market enforcement. 
For information and to register, please see:
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications person.

Not a Box of Chocolates!


The UN Gift Box campaign underway in Ireland for the month of March, featured in the 4th of March 2017 edition of The Tablet, as follows:
‘’Lent is traditionally a time of fasting and abstinence when some people give up chocolates and sweets. The people of Drogheda in Ireland may therefore have been surprised to see a giant chocolate box outside St Peter’s Church on Ash Wednesday. The Gift Box is an initiative of the Loreto Sisters and APT (Act to Prevent Trafficking), a coalition of Religious orders campaigning against human trafficking.
This is the first time the walk-in piece of public art, symbolising the way traffickers entice their victims with false promises, has hit the streets of lreland, according to Sr Elizabeth Byrne IBVM. She explained to The Tablet that the month-long awareness-raising tour by the Gift Box is based on an initiative first launched by Stop t-he Traffik (UK) at the Olympics in 2O12. The Irish scheme has the support of No MoreTraffik (Northern Ireland), the Department of Justice and Equality (Republic of Ireland) and the Garda Anti-Human Trafficking Unit. There have been concerns in Ireland over an increase in the number of suspected victims of sex trafficking and forced labour, forced criminal activity, and forced begging, Sr Elizabeth explained. The Gift Box aims to highlight and inform the public about the issue of trafficking and show how Religious orders are helping fight this modern form of slavery.’’   The Tablet, 4 March, 2017. NOTEBOOK Feature.
 Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.

Holy See: Fighting Modern Slavery.


Sr Imelda PooleIBVM. Photo: © Mazur/
Sr Imelda PooleIBVM. Photo: © Mazur/

Ambassador to the Holy See, H.E. Ms. Sally Axworthy reflects on the work of Sister Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE Europe, in celebration of International Women’s Day, 8 March, 2017.
Sister Imelda Poole heads a network of European religious fighting trafficking and exploitation (RENATE). As such, she is a key ally for the UK’s Prime Minister’s goal of eradicating modern slavery.
When she was 13, Imelda spent a week praying that she would never become a nun. But a few years later, she met the sisters from the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (IBVM) and was impressed by their wholesome lives. She, as she puts it, fell in love with Christ, and joined the IBVM.
The IBVM is one of the two orders whose founder is Mary Ward (see Monday’s profile of Jane Livesey). Like the Congregation of Jesus, the IBVM follow the spirituality of Saint Ignatius Loyola, including his Spiritual Exercises which help the individual discern his or her calling in the world.
Full feature is available at
Adapted by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

On International Women’s Day, 2017, the President of Malta visits Dar Merhba Bik Foundation- A Shelter for Domestic Violence Survivors and their Children.



Photo from left to right: Maria Vassallo: Operations Manager; Bernadette Briffa:Therapeutic Programme Manager & Residential Social Worker; Martina Attard: Care Worker, Elaine Pavia: Head of Shelter, Sr. Margaret Gonzi the Director , and Sr Doris Saliba, Local Leader. Front row: Her Excellency Dr. Marie Loiuse Coleiro Preca and Sr. Carmela one of our elderly sisters.
It was a special Women’s Day this year for the Dar Merhba Bik Foundation, a Shelter for Domestic Violence Survivors, their children and the staff as they hosted a visit from the President of Malta, Her Excellency, Dr. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca.
This official, yet very informal visit, made it possible for all concerned to exchange their concerns, future plans and aspirations.
Her Excellency was very emphatic in her address to the residents, their children and the staff (represented by Ms. Elaine Pavia Head of the Shelter), encouraging them to remain optimistic,  notwithstanding their daily challenges. 
President Coleiro Preca expressed her appreciation and gratitude to the Sisters of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd,  Sr. Doris Saliba, Local Leader and Sr. Margaret Gonzi, Director of Dar Merhba Bik Foundation, whom she said were pioneers in opening the first Domestic Violence Shelter in Malta back in 1980 and which to date, has given shelter and solace to over 3000 clients and their families.
She also thanked the Sisters for being generous and courageous in offering part of their convent, to host and care for a  community of migrants in the Balzan Open Centre through Sr. Agnes Azzopardi, an elderly Sister, and her group of volunteers who support her in her work. 
The President and the Dar Merhba Bik Foundation promised to continue working closely together, in view of assurances of resources and financial support to all concerned through the Malta Community Chest Fund of which Her Excellency is the Patron.
Adapted by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.