2022 Assembly


8th Annual International Symposium on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling- 17 April, 2018, Brussels.


With the recent migratory, economic and security challenges worldwide as well as in Europe, the phenomenon of trafficking in human beings continues to represent an issue which requires a coherent and coordinated response to address its effect upon individuals, society and the economy. According to the Modern Slavery Index 2017, an annual study by Verisk Maplecroft, over the last year modern slavery risks have risen in almost three quarters of the European Union, as 20 countries recorded a drop in their scores.
The research highlighted Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria as the five countries posing the highest risk in the EU, all of which are key entry points for migrants who are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation.
In light of the new commitment of the European Union to adopt new targeted actions to combat the growing challenge of human trafficking, this timely international symposium provided an invaluable opportunity to discuss and analyse effective mechanisms to prevent, address and strengthen multi-agency response.
Delegates had the opportunity to share best practice and discuss ways to protect the victims of human trafficking.
Please see Report on behalf of RENATE:  8th Annual International Symposium on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling- 17 April, 2018, Brussels. Organised by the Public Policy Exchange.
Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

OSCE’s 18th Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference- April 2018- ‘’Everyone has a Role: How to Make a Difference Together’’ emphasises value of partnerships with non-traditional actors including Religious organisations, in the fight against human trafficking.


Opening of the 18th Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference, Vienna, 24 April 2018. OSCE Micky Kroell.

Delegates attending the Conference were urged to cooperate and collaborate as effectively as possible in a co-ordinated effort to address new and emerging trends in Human Trafficking.  Recent years have seen increased child trafficking, trafficking for forced criminality and human trafficking along migration routes.   
The conference theme Everyone has a Role: How to make a Difference Together focused on promoting the importance of inclusive partnerships, including with non-traditional actors such as medical practitioners, teachers, financial investigators, businesses, municipalities, the media and religious organizations, whose engagement could bring added value to the anti-trafficking response.
Many successful multi-disciplinary and multi-agency programmes at local and national levels were highlighted at this year’s conference.
Speakers at the conference agreed that an inclusive approach is critical to address complex transnational trafficking rings. Some of the expert debates focused on how the travel industry could be better engaged in preventing trafficking in human beings; the critical need to involve civil society in broad anti-trafficking partnerships; the specific needs of unaccompanied foreign minors, along with best practices which exist to ensure their protection and successful rehabilitation; the value of the media and the challenges faced by journalists in shedding light on trafficking. 
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

UK Modern Slavery Act continues to inspire other countries to take action against Human Trafficking.


Britain is regarded a leader in the global fight against human trafficking since passing the landmark Modern Slavery Act in 2015. RENATE members involved in advocacy and campaigning across Europe see that it has inspired countries from Australia to the Netherlands considering similar action.
The latest country to be inspired is Hong Kong, where Lawmaker Dennis Kwok said he will table a private member’s bill modelled after Britain’s Modern Slavery Act to the city’s legislature in July 2018, to clean up its “very bad” record.
“As an international financial centre, we believe Hong Kong has an important role to play on this subject which affects 40 million people around the world,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Hong Kong, suggesting Hong Kong could clamp down on the $150 billion in profits generated by traffickers around the globe each year.
This links in with recurring calls in recent times to ‘’follow the money,’’ when it comes to human trafficking, citing it as a multi-billion dollar business, now earning more than the drugs trade and armaments.  
Recommendations in the bill include life sentences for traffickers, compelling firms to report whether their supply chains are free from slavery, and gives enforcement officers wider investigation power.
A 2016 study by the Justice Centre showed one in six migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong were victims of forced labour. According to the Global Slavery Index 2016 by the charity Walk Free Foundation, some 29,500 people are living in modern slavery in Hong Kong.  
Full report at:
Courtesy Thomas Reuters Foundation & adapted by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

DASATT Conference 2018- Dublin, Ireland.


The second conference of DASATT (Development and Services Anti Trafficking Training,  took place in the Loyola Institute, Trinity College on Thursday 12 April 2018. The title of the conference was “New Thinking on Human Trafficking”. It was hoped that Uachtarán na hÉireann, Michael D Higgins would address the gathering. Since this was not possible, the President’s address was read by Mr Edward Sweetman from the Office of the President. We were reminded in the address that human trafficking is a global as well as a personal matter. An tUachtarán showed that he had a wide knowledge of anti-human trafficking work and had visited Viet Nam in recent months.
Dr Gillian Wylie of the Loyola Institute,( ) who was hosting the conference, spoke on the legislation against human trafficking and the international politics of human trafficking.  Among the neglected aspects , Dr Wylie mentioned sexual exploitation and organised crime; the historical association of trafficking and prostitution ; the focus of transnational feminist activism; gendered assumptions about victimhood and agency; early feminists and the white slave trade.  The Palermo document includes the phrase “especially women and children”. It is assumed that women are the victims and men are the traffickers. In smuggling, men are victims. Many of them pay to be taken to another country. Dr Wylie asserts that there is a myopic understanding of the situation. She used the term, “carcelar(?) law”. What is happening is that we are applying crime-control approaches to complex social problems, a legalistic solution to a global problem.
GRETA is now dealing with labour exploitation – agriculture, fishing and restaurant work. Labour exploitation does not attract as much attention as sexual exploitation. Exclusionary migration policies contribute to vulnerability to labour trafficking.
What is needed is a holistic approach to human trafficking.
Economics created by structures drive people into the arms of traffickers. We need to look at the political economy behind slavery, drugs and trafficking.
Commenting on Dr Wylie’s remarks, Fr Seán Cassin OFM, Founder and CEO of DASATT, linked trafficking and development in Viet Nam, where development comes at a huge cost.
-The local population cannot cope with massive tourism.
– Giant cartels come in from China and engage in activities very harmful to the land e.g. bauxite mining, which produces quantities of red mud, destroying the land. Chemicals are running into the rivers and sea and killing fish. Deprived of their livelihood, local farmers and fishermen are vulnerable to trafficking.
Klara Skrivankova, UK and European Manager and Senior Private Sector Advisor at Anti-Slavery International, ( ) deplored the fact that, in the UK, when a cannabis grow-house is discovered, the worker on the site is arrested and imprisoned, despite the fact that he or she has been found in a building that is locked from the outside. The real culprits, the traffickers, are not to be found. This is a clear case of legislation being an inadequate response to a trafficking situation.
Jane O’Connell, Legal Officer with Migrant Rights Centre Ireland ( ) told the conference participants about her work with victims of exploitation by labour. Migrants Rights is located at 26 North Great Georges Street, Dublin 1.
Mike Browsowski, CEO of Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, Viet Nam, ( ) amazed those present by describing his work with street children, disabled children and trafficked children in Viet Nam. An Australian national, Mike has been able to rescue many children from slave labour in factories, bring home children trafficked into China, educate children and train numbers of people to combat trafficking. The project is now a multi-million dollar concern. Mike has been able to take parents into factories and even to China to see the conditions under which their children are living. Blue Dragon receives support from the Vietnamese Police Departments. He and his colleagues are involved in training programmes in Viet Nam. He contrasted awareness-raising with training, maintaining that training has a more lasting effect than awareness-raising. Ideally, when anti trafficking is successful,  this will be the situation:
Families will no longer be poor and needy. Factories will no longer need child labourers. Traffickers will be disincentified. The general public will say, “This is not acceptable”.
Eilis Coe, rsm.
APT Member.

8th Annual International Symposium on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling, Tuesday 17th April 2018, in Brussels.


The 8th Annual International Symposium on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling is taking place today in Brussels.
Four members of RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation) are attending this event and the President of Mary Ward Loreto Foundation/ RENATE, Imelda Poole (IBVM), representing Albania.
The delegates of this Annual International Symposium will:

  • Explore how to build effective multi-agency cooperation to ensure the conviction of perpetrators
  • Consider ways to safeguard victims by strengthening victim support
  • Take part in interactive discussions with key stakeholders and share best practice in the protection of trafficking victims
  • Examine how to better identify, protect and support victims of sexual exploitation through the delivery a person-centred safeguarding system
  • Share ideas on and transfer current knowledge of available training and education for frontline staff to ensure that they are qualified to identify and assess victims of trafficking
  • Evaluate the importance of partnership working and discuss how best to implement effective multi-sector collaboration;

The trafficking in human beings has, over the last decade, increased significantly. According to the International Labour Organisation, in 2012 there were 20.9 million people were victims of forced labour and sexual exploitation in the world. In the period 2013-14 EU countries reported 15,846 victims of human trafficking, 76% of which were women and girls according to a European Commission report. It is estimated that two out of three registered victims (67%) were trafficked for sexual exploitation, 21% for other types of forced labour and 12% for other types of exploitation. Please click here for more

RENATE’s upcoming Training Programme: Human Trafficking and Trauma: Care for the Victims and Preventive Care for the Carers, 30 April-4 May 2018.


30 RENATE members have registered to attend training on the above theme, which will take place at the Pallotti House Conference Centre, Freising, Germany. The training is tailored specifically for RENATE members who in their work, have to address trauma and trauma-related issues.
Amongst the themes to be covered are: Psychotraumatology-short theoretical background, features and symptomatology; Working with victims of sexual abuse- a spiritual, practical approach; Burnout-signs and features, prevention, psycho-hygiene; Trauma Therapy with victims of sexual exploitation in Germany; Spiritual counselling with Victims of Trafficking in Nigeria.
Amongst those contributing to the training, are Sr. Dr. Lea Ackerman, Foundress of SOLWODI; Sr. M. Regina Pröls of the German Conference of Religious; Dr. Ingeborg Kraus will lead on the theme of ‘’Trauma Therapy with vicitms of sexual exploitation in Germany.’’ There will be representation from the German Federal Criminal Police Human Trafficking Unit and members of the German Bishop’s Conference’s Working Group on Human Trafficking. Bishop Dr. Stefan Heße, of the Santa Marta Group will also join us for input and sharing.
Liturgy and reflections will support the work of each day and a  visit to SOLWODI Augsburg is also planned, providing an opportunity to meet with the members and share best practices
Watch this space for a full report later in May!
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

Joint ARISE/MWL Fund-raising training initiative, Albania: 10-11 April, 2018.


42  participants including RENATE members, attended a special two-day training seminar on Fundraising and how best to work with donors. The seminar was jointly organised by both the ARISE Foundation and the Mary Ward Loreto Foundation (MWL), in Albania, catering to participants from 5 East European countries.
Through presentations, group discussions and analysis of case studies, the seminar covered all aspects of the grant application cycle, from researching and sourcing funders to proposal-writing. A very significant component of the overall training was building capacity to build and maintain strong relationships with donors.
Ms. Kate Horner, Managing Director of ‘Forward Motion Strategies’ based in Boston, USA, facilitated the training.
More at:
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

UISG Seminar on Women Religious on the Frontlines, combatting Human Trafficking and Promoting Reconciliation.


Sr. Patricia Murray, IBVM, US Ambassador Callista Gingrich & H.E. Archbishop Paul Gallagher.

Co-hosted by the Union of Superiors General, the US Embassy to the Holy See and Solidarity with South Sudan, at the heart of the seminar were Religious sisters sharing stories from the frontline.
Delegates attending heard of the work of sisters ministering in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, aiming to build peace and empower other women at grassroots level in some of the most deprived and violent countries and socio-economic contexts.
The importance of education and awareness-raising, collaboration with both government and civil society was emphasised by sisters who spoke of their work to combat human trafficking, prostitution and the cyber porn industry.
Other sisters shared personal stories about accompaniment of victims of conflict and violence, where sometimes even the sisters themselves fell victim to such violence.
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, paid tribute to the sisters’ courageous and selfless work as shared at the seminar, stating: ‘’For me, these are all examples of Religious women living …and working on the front lines, living out their faith, having to draw on all the resources of their faith and of the spirituality of their individual congregations and giving enormous witness to the Church and to Christ.’’  
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

Attendance at Innovation Management and Innovation Culture (IMIC) WORKSHOP- the ERSTE NGO Academy Foundation. Sr. Stanka Oršolić, snd.


The workshop Innovation Management and Innovation Culture (IMIC) took place from 28- 29 March, 2018, at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Thanks to RENATE, I participated in my fourth workshop organized by the ERSTE NGO Academy Foundation so far. Previous workshops covered Leadership; Successfully leading teams and oneself;  Organizational design for 21st century. The trainer of this most recent IMIC workshop was Mr. Björn Schmitz, owner of the consulting firm Phil!iomondo and an expert in innovation management, business planning, collaboration, scaling and organizational development.
The following are key areas from the IMIC workshop, which we had the opportunity to discuss and analyse from the context of the challenges we encounter in our daily work time:

  1. Some approaches for creating and realizing ideas;
  2. How our innovation fits with the customer’s demands;
  3. Analysis of our organizational culture and innovation management;
  4. Reflection on our leadership style.

In this IMIC workshop I had an opportunity:

  1. to present the work of RENATE;
  2. to meet new colleagues from Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Hungary, Romania, Kosovo, Montenegro and Austria. I was also able to share different experiences and to discuss about the daily issues in our work-places and try to discover new approaches to resolving problems;
  3. to learn about innovation management and innovation and to face it with design thinking challenge;
  4. to come up with ideas and concepts which should help me in my life;
  5. to conduct self-assessment and recognise my personal leadership style.

Therefore I am happy and grateful to have been able to attend this workshop!
Sr. Stanka Oršolić