2022 Assembly


RENATE member, Andrea Bezáková, together with her SOLWODI Austria Leaders, shares an update on the new SOLWODI shelter recently opened in the Austrian Tyrol.



 From L. to R. Sr. Patricia Erber, Sr. Andrea Bezáková, and Sr. Anna Mayrhofer.
From L. to R. Sr. Patricia Erber, Sr. Andrea Bezáková, and Sr. Anna Mayrhofer.

‘’From my personal experience – and I think I am speaking on behalf of many of my fellow Religious- our commitment has a great deal to do with ‘looking’ and not looking away, perceiving, being concerned, questioning and identifying.’’ Thus said SOLWODI Austria Leader and RENATE member Sr. Patricia Erber on the 23rd May 2017.  Sr. Patricia, together with Sr. Anna Mayrhofer, SOLWODI Austria Leader and Sr. Andrea Bezakova, RENATE member,  gave a press conference in Innsbruck, to speak about the SOLWODI shelter and counselling centre for women affected by trafficking in human beings, forced prostitution, exploitation and violence (#GerechtigkeitGeht).
Many women leave their home countries because of extreme poverty, emergency circumstances, false promises and the hope of a better life. The helplessness of these same women often leaves them vulnerable to financial dependency, exploitation at work, physical and psychological violence. Often, they become engaged in exploitative relationships or are forced into prostitution, which deprives them of their rights and their dignity. Patricia Erber knows the reality all too well, saying ‘’Austria is both a transit and a destination country. Thousands of women, especially foreigners, are brought to Austria to work in prostitution and are often victims of human trafficking. The identification of the victims is difficult but even more difficult, is the criminal prosecution of the perpetrators.’’
SOLWODI Austria is a joint initiative of six women’s organisations in Austria and is largely financed by women’s organisations in Austria and supported by individual private donors. ‘’We initiate a small start-up capital for the establishment in Innsbruck but we still need financial support in the long term and also trust the solidarity of the people in the Tyroll,’’ the Chairman appealed. 
 Protection and Counselling Centre.
The shelter can accommodate five women at a time and is available to women who have been exploited and left helpless, or have experienced violence, or forced into exploitative working conditions or prostitution or are victims of human trafficking. 
Sr. Mayrhofer responds to the challenge; ‘’The centre can provide concrete support to women. The networking opportunities and cooperation with each other as women and migrants is valuable, as is the opportunity to network with other counselling institutions, public authorities and relief organisations.
Women-even those with children- who are acutely threatened or are victims of violence and exploitation, can be admitted to a shelter, where they can find rest and assistance in order to cope with every-day life and be restored once again.
The address of the advisory office in Maximilianstrasse 8, Innsbruck, is no secret. A small counselling centre was set up for initial contacts and also for aftercare of the former residents of the shelter. The offer is anonymous and free of charge.’’ 

This topic requires a lot of sensitivity, Andrea Bezakova, cj, says. Andrea is responsible for the concrete work of counselling and guidance on the ground, in Innsbruck. ‘’Because of my personal conversations, I can safely say there is little known about the life-circumstances of prostitutes, women forced into prostitution and victims of human trafficking. Awareness-raising is ongoing.’’
Andrea is happy about the good cooperation they enjoy with the authorities and the state of Tyrol: “Good networking and cooperation is a matter of great concern to us, and we have received concrete support from Christine Baur, the Tyrolean order community and employees of Caritas and the Diocese of Innsbruck First. Discussions have also taken place with representatives of the police and authorities. They have all been very positive and supportive.’’
Andrea shared the specific counselling and guidance of the women includes ‘’consultation or accompaniment with medical, legal, social and psychological problems and support from the authorities. Legal counsel mediation, help in clarifying legal residency status or assistance to withdraw from prostitution are certainly of priority. The provision of literacy and German language courses, as well as assistance with housing and employment, are of great interest to us. Last but not least, we are about offering support in returning to the country of origin, if this is possible.”
The sisters are not only waiting for people to come to them. ‘’In the future, we are also planning to start with outreach social work. Regular visits to the places of prostitution allow women to gain knowledge of counselling and support services, and to build confidence among the social workers.” Bezáková is not shy in inviting offers of help! “Whoever wants to support us voluntarily and is able to cope with the situation, is welcome. We are also grateful for and welcome every material and ideal support.”
Original at
Translated and adapted by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.

RENATE – France: Plateforme en ligne pour aider les victimes de traite.


L’OIM et l’UE aident les victimes de traite grâce à une nouvelle France – Avec le soutien  de l’Union européenne (UE), l’Organisation internationale pour les migrations a (OIM) lancé une plateforme en ligne comprenant un outil de renvoi transnational conçu pour renforcer la réponse des professionnels aux besoins des victimes de traite. L’outil, un modèle … Lire la suite Plateforme en ligne pour aider les victimes de traite

United Nations NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons.


The United Nations NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons, is dedicated to the eradication of human trafficking in all its forms, through education, advocacy, monitoring and compliance with UN Treaties, protocols, laws and resolutions.
The NGO Committee members are a powerful voice against human trafficking and achieve their goals through:
Initiating actions that impact locally, nationally and internationally.
Facilitate grassroots access to UN processes and agencies.
Advocate for stronger actions in relation to prevention, protection and prosecution.
Support efforts that provide services to survivors.
For more: NGO UN Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons 
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person. 

A child is a child: Protecting children on the move from violence, abuse and exploitation.


Published by UNICEF in May 2017, this 46-page publication ‘’shows how the lack of safe and legal pathways for refugee and migrant children, feeds a booming market for human smuggling and puts them at risk of violence, abuse and exploitation.
Building upon recent UNICEF policy proposals, the report sets out ways in which governments can better protect these vulnerable children.
The report is available at
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.

Launch of EU Transnational Referral Mechanism Model – TRM, 22nd May 2017


The establishment of National and Transnational Referral Mechanisms, is an online platform featuring the TRM and launched by IOM, as an outcome of the EU-funded Transnational Action (TACT) project 
The tool is designed to strengthen professional responses to the needs of victims of human trafficking and contributes to ensuring victims’ access to rights throughout the transnational referral mechanism process, and especially in a situation of cross-border referral.
‘’The tool, known as a Transnational Referral Mechanism (TRM) model, links up experts and professionals from different countries involved in the identification, referral, assistance, return, and monitoring of assistance to victims of trafficking. It defines the roles of each stakeholder participating in national referral mechanisms (NRM) and serves as a platform to inform and connect counter-trafficking practitioners in countries of origin and countries of destination.’’
This is a particularly useful resource which will be helpful in our work and may also be helpful to the partner organisations with whom we work, thus please feel free to share it with all relevant people with whom you work.
The full Press release statement is available at
 Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.

Learning from health-care programmes devised to assist victims of human trafficking.


Studies indicate that 80% of human trafficking victims have had an encounter with the medical profession at one time or another, during their period of being trafficked (
In the United States of America, medical professionals have developed a ‘’shared learning manual’’ that suggests a Human Trafficking Response programme. A PDF. of  its manual (52 pps; PDF), is available to the public, to assist and encourage other health-care providers to implement their own initiatives to help combat human trafficking.
The model of survivor-led and survivor-informed programmes, allied to victim-centred and trauma-informed approaches is current and whilst directed at the United States healthcare system, there are transferrable best practices which might be helpful to RENATE member countries that are thinking of devising similar programmes to help combat human trafficking. 
For more:
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.

RENATE President, Imelda Poole, IBVM, alerts Canada to the fact that despite being categorised as tier 1, in the TIP Report, Canada a primary target for human trafficking.


Speaking on the 18th of May, at the Mary Ward Centre in Toronto, Imelda said Canada has become a primary destination for victims of human trafficking in spite of various initiatives to combat the illegal trade. Imelda was in Canada the same day that Ontario passed the Anti-Human Trafficking Act. Ontario accounts for 69 per cent of reported human trafficking crimes in Canada, according to 2014 data.
About 70 per cent of these cases involve sexual exploitation. The Anti-Human Trafficking Act enables victims or potential victims of human trafficking to obtain restraining orders and also provides a means for victims to sue traffickers for compensation to rebuild their lives. The act also establishes Feb. 22 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Ann McGowan, director of Toronto’s Mary Ward Centre, is generally encouraged by the new law but says it fails to address the underlying issues which lead to humans being trafficked.
More at

Nouvel article sur RENATE-FRANCE


Migration des victimes de la traite humaine.

Présentation faite à la Table Ronde sur les témoignages d’engagement avec les migrants par Sr. Begoña Iñarra pour présenter l’aspect de la migration abordée par RENATE-France. 1. Mon engagement aux Captifs   Comme Missionnaires de N.D. d’Afrique (Sœurs Blanches) j’ai travaillé pendant plus de 20 ans dans différents pays africains. Envoyée à Paris pour travailler contre … Lire la suite Migration des victimes de la traite humaine
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OSCE commend Denmark for its actions to prevent trafficking for forced labour.


There is much learning to be had from the recent visit of the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings, Ms. Madina Jarbussynova, who commended Denmark for its actions taken to prevent human trafficking for forced labour, as she concluded a three day visit to the country.
Ms. Jarbussynova made particular note of guidelines developed by the Danish Centre against Human Trafficking, which she suggested would ‘’…serve as a good practice to be followed in the region and beyond.” She recommended stronger coordination and engagement with all stakeholders, which would help improve Denmark’s response to human trafficking.
In acknowledging Denmark is currently working on a new National Action Plan Against Human Trafficking, Ms. Jarbussynova suggested that increased attention to regular monitoring and evaluation would be of benefit to its development.
The publication ‘Avoid hidden forced labour – a guide for businesses and employers’ is a tool for different industries that may come into contact with human trafficking and available at:
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.

Displacement of Persons and Human Trafficking are centre-stage at the TRUST Conference: America Forum: Putting the Rule of Law behind Human Rights, 25 April 2017.


To hear more about the factors in the western hemisphere which facilitate the exploitation of people through labour-trafficking, tune in to hear the keynote address of Ms. Denise Brennan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology, Georgetown University, Washington D.C. 
In speaking about the relationship between trafficking and the criminalisation of immigration, Professor Brennan refers to the potential impact of the alarming increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric emerging across Europe and the United States.  Her concern is that anti-immigrant policies make trafficking possible, stating ‘’Policies that push immigrants to live and work in the shadows, make them perfect prey as they fear reporting exploitation and abuse.’’
Watch it here (10:57).
All videos from the conference can be accessed here
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.