2022 Assembly


Launch of ILO Toolkit- Forced Labour and Fair Recruitment.



Thursday 30 July 2020 from 14:00 – 15:15, CET.

               To REGISTER:

To commemorate the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, the ILO is organising a webinar to launch the new toolkit for journalists Reporting on Forced Labour and Fair Recruitment.

The ILO has developed this toolkit in a collaborative effort with contributions from professional journalists, communication professionals and topic experts.  It has been pilot tested through media training workshops in a number of countries in all regions of the world.  The toolkit is now available in EnglishFrenchSpanish (draft version) and Arabic. It has been adapted to the national context in Nepal and Sri Lanka.

This week, the ILO will carry out a social media campaign to raise awareness of the tool and the importance of supporting quality reporting on forced labour and fair recruitment in achieving Target 8.7. This will include video messages from journalists from all regions of the world as well as celebrities and other supporters of quality media reporting on these topics. Please support the campaign by following @ILO on Twitter and retweeting campaign messages.

30 July 2020 – Invitation from ACRATH to join in online prayer service via Zoom, to mark the occasion.


World Day against Trafficking in Persons- 30 July 2020.

As we prepare to mark this year’s World day against Trafficking in Persons, 30 July 2020, ACRATH members (Australian Catholic Religious against Trafficking in Humans)  have prepared a ten-minute Prayer for the World Day Against the Trafficking in Persons on July 30 and invite us to attend via ZOOM.

If you are unable to attend the zoom prayer gathering you are welcome to use the material on the ACRATH website ( and lead your community in prayer.

Zoom details
Topic: World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
Time: Jul 30, 2020 12:00 PM Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 839 6587 7041

Notice about the World Day of Migrants 27 September 2020.


106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR), 27 September 2020.

The 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) will be celebrated on Sunday 27th September 2020.

With the title “Like Jesus Christ, forced to flee”, Pope Francis urges us this year to discover the reality of internally displaced people more deeply. Every month, a new video of Pope Francis and other multimedia materials delve into the sub-themes present in the Message of the Holy Father. The first sub-theme was “To know in order to understand” and the second one was “To be close in order to serve”.

You can watch the third, newly released video, in which the Holy Father explores the sub-theme “To listen in order to be reconciled.” It offers the real-life testimony of an internally displaced person that explains how teamwork and mutual acceptance can create a brighter future and peaceful coexistence between people of different religions.

In the video, Pope Francis urges us to an attentive and humble listening through which we can be truly reconciled.

The video and the material available via the link below can be freely downloaded, published, used and shared:


In the coming months leading up to 27 September, the Migrants and Refugees Section will gladly receive written or multi-media testimonies and photographs from local Churches and other Catholic stakeholders that illustrate their shared commitment in the pastoral ministry to internally displaced people. The material can be sent to

For more information:

Address by Sr. Gabriella Bottani to the OSCE Alliance’s 20th Conference against Trafficking in Human Beings.


Gabriella Bottani, Talitha Kum international coordinator speaks about  Victim-centred approaches to investigations and prosecutions– addressing the 20th OSCE Alliance against Trafficking in Persons Conference 20 – 22 July 2020.

On 21 July 2020, Gabriella Bottani addressed the afternoon session about Victim-centred approaches to investigations and prosecutions. A panel comprising Gabriella, Dr. Maia Rusakova, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, St. Petersburg State University, Executive Director of Stellit, Russian Federation; Ms. Pam Bowen, Senior Policy Advisor at the Crown Prosecution Service, UK and Mr. Wanchai Roujanavong, Senior Consultant Prosecutor, Thailand,
discussed the application of the victim-centred, trauma-informed approach to investigation and prosecution. Victims are often left traumatised through their experiences, and this can be compounded by participation in difficult and lengthy criminal justice procedures, reducing the willingness of victims to report human trafficking.

The Panel was moderated by Mr. Chris Toth, Executive director of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Prosecutors, United States

Below is Gabriella Bottani’s address.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honoured to share the experience of Talitha Kum, the international network of Catholic sisters engaged in combatting human trafficking. Since 2009 Talitha Kum has been working to consolidate the network; to train sisters on how to deal effectively with victims of trafficking; and to engage with external actors to promote the dignity of the survivors and of those who risk being trafficked. Talitha Kum today counts 56 active groups, involving two thousand six hundred (2.600) sisters and collaborators who last year supported fifteen thousand five hundred (15.500) survivors. My reflections today are based on their accounts and reports.

We, sisters, meet victims in various contexts of vulnerability such as women and children exploited in the sex market, undocumented migrants, asylum seekers, people in detention, street children. We try to establish a trustful relationship, providing not only urgent assistance but also responding to their spiritual needs. We host them as our most welcome guests, as sisters and brothers.

When we, sisters, meet victims, we normally do not ask many questions. We know that we have to listen to the stories many, many times before the person is able to share the true story. Trust must be stronger than fear, stronger than threats, than shame. The person must be able to tell the raw, violent truth, and be able to bear its psychological burden. We listen to the pain, the broken dreams, the violence, and we also share the hopes, the resilience and courage that grow slowly.

Yet, in many instances, when these stories are reported to the police, somehow they seem never to be enough. It seems that it is not sufficient to show the scars, describe places, give names and sometimes be clearly caught in an exploitative situation.

It may sound like a paradox, but to be recognized as a victim, is hard work. When we deal with the bureaucratic legal procedures, we are usually confronted with the main stumbling block of proving that the trafficked persons are not guilty of other crimes, such as the violation of immigration laws, labour laws, family laws or other criminal code provisions. They must also prove that as trafficked persons they did not consent to their exploitation, which can be challenging at times.

I remember my first case. A group of women had been detained because of drug dealing. During several visits to the prison, one of the sisters became aware that these women had been trapped in situations of abuse of power, violence and exploitation. After studying the case, we brought it to the attention of the criminal justice authorities who, after the necessary investigations, recognized the women as victims of trafficking. These women needed to be looked at with different eyes; eyes able to go beyond the surface. This same situation occurs very often, particularly when the exploitation is the result of widely-accepted practices due to structural, culturally-based asymmetrical relationships, between employee and employer, woman and man, adult and child, national and foreigner, rich and poor.

Yet, even when victims are recognized as such, their situation can still be difficult. I think about those who are in need of prolonged assistance, because of the mental health consequences of being trafficked. I also think about the situation of foreign-born trafficked persons: the recognition of their right to stay in the host country is linked to the recognition of their legal status as victims. The two legal procedures often do not unfold in a co-ordinated way, which may result in further victimization.

The result is that trafficked persons often fall outside the safety net of criminal justice systems. These victims are those who cannot benefit from the assistance provided by governments and civil society organizations.

We, sisters, try to be on the side of each person, regardless of religious faith, life choices, political beliefs, legal status. This approach makes us a borderline, marginal group. We do our best to offer care and assistance, to promote education and work in compliance with the laws of the countries where we live and act.
Our experience confirms that a victim-centred trauma-informed approach to investigating and prosecuting trafficking is essential to ensure that victims enjoy protection, support services to heal the trauma and an adequate compensation for the suffered damages.
But it is not enough to achieve justice. Investigations and prosecutions need to identify and hold the whole trafficking chain responsible for the crime: those who recruit, who exploit, who earn from the exploitation, who corrupt and are corrupted.

Trafficking is an extremely lucrative business where too many interests intertwine. Victim too often bear the full burden. I am increasingly convinced that we need to adopt a complex approach to address affectively a complex crime such as human trafficking.

We live in difficult times. As a global network, Talitha Kum acts in a social and legal environment that is more and more hostile toward some social groups. It is increasingly difficult to reach out to victims who are in administrative detention as undocumented migrants, out of the justice system’s reach. It is increasingly difficult to assist individuals who are trapped in houses as domestic and sexual slaves or to warn individuals off accepting traffickers’ promises in communities plagued by violence, corruption, lack of opportunities and safety. The increasing marginalization of migrants, religious and national minorities, women and girls, provides fertile grounds for trafficking to flourish. And the recent pandemic has further exacerbated the situation.

Trafficking is not only a heinous crime against an individual. It is both the result and the cause of deep wounds in the social and economic fabric of whole communities and countries.

As Talitha Kum we are engaged in healing those wounds, trying not only to bring justice for trafficked persons, but to promote a more just way of living together. It is a difficult path that we walk everyday together with the survivors.

OSCE recommendations and concluding remarks from the 20th Conference 20 – 22 July 2020.



Chairperson of the OSCE Permanent Council Ambassador Igli Hasani (l) and the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator on Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings Valiant Richey​ address the closing of the 20th Alliance Conference, Vienna, 22 July 2020. (OSCE/Micky Kroell).

20th OSCE Alliance Conference against Trafficking in Persons conference closes with a call to all 57 participating States to reverse the declining number of human trafficking prosecutions and triple the number of prosecutions for this crime within the next three years.

The three-day 20th Alliance Conference against Trafficking in Persons conference closed on 22 July last, with over 700 registered participants from almost every OSCE participating State and record numbers of online viewers, it was the largest Alliance Conference ever.

During the three-day discussion involving State representatives, victims of trafficking, international and non-governmental organizations and academia, persistent challenges as well as a number of good policies and promising practices were highlighted. These included the importance of specialized anti-trafficking units and multi-agency co-operation to build better cases, as well as financial investigations to seize traffickers’ profits and provide compensation to victims. Moreover, the use of a victim-centred and trauma-informed approach by the criminal justice system was underlined as fundamental in ensuring victims’ rights throughout the recovery and reintegration process, and crucial to achieving effective prosecutions.

The Conference closed with a call to reverse the alarming fall in the number of prosecutions for human trafficking in recent years and a target for each of the Organization’s 57 participating States to triple the number of prosecutions for this crime within the next three years.

In his closing remarks, Special Representative Richey stated “Too many victims go without any kind of justice, while traffickers revel in their profits.” Urging OSCE participating States to reverse the declining number of human trafficking prosecutions, he said: “Prosecuting traffickers alone is not the end of human trafficking, but it is a crucial step toward ending it. We need to replace the current culture of impunity with a culture of justice.” He called on OSCE participating States “to set a concrete goal of tripling the number of prosecutions within the next three years.” To achieve that, Richey reiterated that his office was ready to support anti-trafficking authorities in designing and implementing effective strategies to prosecute traffickers and deliver justice to more victims.

Chairperson of the OSCE Permanent Council Ambassador Hasani described impunity as an “an open wound in our society” and hoped that “conversations like the one we have had these three days can help us move in the right direction and work to close that wound.” He then launched a “renewed push to increase the number and improve the quality of prosecutions and to implement the existing commitments we have.” In closing, he endorsed the Special representative’s “strong call to change the current state of affairs, end impunity and reinvigorate our effort to eradicate human trafficking.”

In recalling the main highlights and recommendations emerging from the Conference, Ambassador Hasani and Special Representative Richey underlined that “none of those policies will be effective without political will. We must want to improve. We must carry with us the voices of those who endured human trafficking, honour their courage in coming forward, and take action today.”

OSCE report on the Alliance against Trafficking in Human Beings’ 20th Conference 20 – 22 July 2020.


Prosecute human traffickers and deliver justice to victims: 20th OSCE Alliance Conference against Trafficking in Persons (20 -22 July 2020) calls for an end to impunity.

Valiant Richey, OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings, addressing the 20th OSCE Alliance Conference against Trafficking in Persons, Vienna, 20 July 2020. (OSCE/Micky Kroell).

Identifying effective ways to improve the prosecution of human traffickers was the focus of the 20th high-level OSCE Alliance Conference against Trafficking in Persons, which opened 20 July 2020 in Vienna.

The conference’s theme acknowledged that while many countries have legislation and action plans to combat human trafficking, impunity remains widespread across the world and in the OSCE region. It is estimated that there are about 25 million victims of human trafficking globally. According to the latest reports, in 2019 only a little more than 11,000 traffickers were prosecuted – roughly one prosecution for every 2,154 victims.

Against this backdrop of declining rates of prosecution in recent years, officials opening the conference called for action and investment in the area of prosecution.

“It is a drop in the ocean”, said OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combatting Trafficking in Human Beings Valiant Richey, commenting on the number of prosecutions compared to the estimated number of victims. “The current rate of prosecution means most traffickers never spend a day in a courthouse, let alone a prison cell. This needs to change. Countering impunity and establishing a strong rule of law must be a fundamental cornerstone in the fight against trafficking in human beings.”

The meeting opened with a video message from Ms. Coco Berthmann, a survivor of human trafficking, and Founder and President of the Coco Berthmann Scholarship Fund, who said that “perpetrators need to understand that their actions and crimes will be punished to the full extent of the law.” She urged Conference participants to take action.

Sandër Lleshaj, Minister of Interior of Albania, addressing the conference remotely from Tirana, urged participants to recognize that “confiscation of property, revenue and assets generated by or used for criminal activities remains a crucial strategy. Confiscation directly discourages criminals and can be instrumental to compensate victims and support their rehabilitation”.

Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Ghada Waly reminded participants that “rising poverty and fewer opportunities in the COVID-19 economic downturn threaten to leave many more people at the mercy of human traffickers. Governments need to step up action to prevent exploitation in the COVID-19 crisis, to identify and support trafficking victims, and bring perpetrators to justice.”

Katarzyna Gardapkhadze, First Deputy Director at the OSCE Office of the Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, described human trafficking as a “highly-gendered crime, with low rates of identifications, and even lower of prosecutions and convictions”, and urged participants “to systematically include survivors’ voices into policy discussions and development.”

In a video message, Tanzila Narbaeva, Chairperson of the Senate of the Parliament of Uzbekistan, addressed participants on the role of the judiciary: “The role of the Supreme Courts is key to ensure consistency in jurisprudence and the correct understanding and interpretation of anti-trafficking legislation by first instance and appellate judges. Special attention should be paid to training the judiciary and law enforcement officials.”

Joining from Brussels, Olivier Onidi, Deputy Director General for Migration and Home Affairs at the European Commission and acting EU Anti-trafficking Co-ordinator said: “To counter impunity towards the eradication of this crime and to protect people from becoming victims, we must use all available means to hold perpetrators accountable: from following the money to ensure that the crime does not pay, to making best use of technology and implementing our laws.”

For three days, judges, investigators, prosecutors, law and policy-makers, experts and NGO representatives from across the OSCE region met to discuss challenges and opportunities to enhance the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking and discuss linkages between the prosecution of offenders and the protection of victims before, during and after criminal proceedings. The conference will culminate in recommendations from across the OSCE region on how to make prosecution a more utilized and effective tool in combating human trafficking.

A report on these recommendations will be published in due course.

Appointment of new UN Special Rapporteur for Trafficking in Human Beings.


UN announce the appointment of a new Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons.

Congratulations to Professor Siobhán Mullally, Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, Ireland, on her appointment as UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children.

A leading academic on human rights law, Professor Mullally will be responsible for taking action on human rights violations committed against trafficked people – as well as situations in which there has been a failure to protect human rights or to take preventative action.

Professor Mullaly was previously President of the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, (GRETA),  trafficking monitoring body and is a member of the Hague international court of justice.

She also previously served as a Chairperson of the Irish Refugee Council before being appointed  Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (2014- 2019). Professor Mullally also served  as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

Notification of Mary Ward JPIC webinar via Zoom, (taking place tomorrow morning).



Join Mary Ward JPIC Webinar Friday 24 July 2020 @ 11:30 CEST (10:30 UK time).

Committed to the cause: Working on the frontlines, to end human trafficking.

To join the webinar via Zoom:

Meeting ID: 846 0583 0116

Password: 771558


Human Trafficking is modern day slavery and a crime against humanity. The network of the two Mary Ward Congregations, IBVM and CJ, has been actively involved in the war against it, and we shall not stop until the war is won.

You are invited to join us this Friday 24/7/20 as we discuss various topics related to Human Trafficking and be informed, encouraged and challenged.

Let us join the many heroes and heroines who work tirelessly in this effort.

We are stronger together.

Palermo Protocol- 20 Years after Implementation:- a recording of session 3 29/30 June 2020.


For those of you who missed the International conference ‘’Implementing and going beyond the PALERMO PROTOCOL’’ held 29/30 June last, you can follow a recording of the third session, via the following link:

The theme of the third session is: Human Rights of trafficked and exploited persons beyond the Palermo Protocol.

Moderator : Professor Geneviève LeBaron (Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute – SPERI).

Panelists: Luis De Baca (Yale Law School, Former US Ambassador at-Large on trafficking).  Mike Dottridge (Independent Human Rights Expert); Maud De Boer Buquicchio (former UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale andsexual exploitation of children, Former CoE Deputy, Secretary General, President of Missing Children Europe) and Christine Chinkin (Centre for Women, Peace and Security).