2022 Assembly


The 2023 Global Slavery Index offers improved data and survivor expertise for stronger advocacy


Source: Freedom Collaborative
The anti-trafficking sector last week welcomed the release of the 2023 Global Slavery Index (GSI), the world’s most comprehensive dataset on modern slavery at a country level. The index, produced by Walk Free, presents a detailed picture of modern slavery as it exists across industries worldwide, indicates the actions governments are taking and the risks populations face, and offers an analysis of trade flows and data on specific products. This new edition of the report finds that, against a backdrop of COVID-19, the climate emergency, and ongoing conflicts across the world, 10 million more people have been forced to work or marry since 2016. A widespread assault on democracy and rights, and major economic and social impacts, have caused significant disruption to employment and education, leading to extreme poverty and forced and unsafe migration. However, in many wealthy countries, efforts to combat modern slavery have stagnated and in some cases hard won progress has reversed. Since its launch in 2013, the GSI has been instrumental in engaging governments and the private sector in addressing modern slavery. Exploitation is now recognised as a systemic element within the global economy, and has become a mainstream topic as part of discussions on governance, sustainability, and corporate due diligence. Although most G20 countries are not doing enough to ensure that modern slavery is not involved in the production of imported goods and within supply chains, a narrative shift has occurred over the past decade, placing much greater responsibility on state authorities and businesses for combating human trafficking, forced labour and exploitation. In recent years, the UK and Australia have introduced Modern Slavery Acts, which require companies to report on modern slavery risks in their supply chains, the U.S. has banned several companies from importing goods across its borders due to the risk of forced labour, and some Gulf States have started to reform the kafala sponsorship system to better protect the rights of migrant workers. While all these responses are arguably flawed and require improvement, data contained within the GSI, and the spotlight it places on individual countries, put civil society and campaign groups in a much stronger position from which to advocate for rights holders. The GSI allows all stakeholders to understand the size of the problem, existing responses, and contributing factors, so they can build sound policies that will end modern slavery or do effective advocacy work and hold governments accountable for their anti-slavery actions, says Walk Free.Walk Free made substantial methodological improvements to the 2018 edition of the index, including a significant increase in the number of survey data points, and changes to its approach to estimating prevalence in countries without survey data. The 2023 report continued to refine this methodology to provide the most accurate modern slavery prevalence, risk and government response data, including new data sources for measures of vulnerability, and a stronger scoring system for assessments of government action.The new report also puts greater emphasis on survivor expertise, and features essays and articles by survivors on topics including disrupting the cycle between conflict and modern slavery, the impact of pandemic control measures on modern slavery, and modern slavery and gender. Extensive reviews made by Lived Experience Expert Groups led to edits to the conceptual framework underpinning the study, which outlines what constitutes a strong response to modern slavery, and also to the method of analysis.Modern slavery is often hidden from view, it disproportionately affects the most marginalized, and many victims do not self-identify, which means that quantifying the number of victims is challenging, says Walk Free. Measuring and monitoring this problem is therefore crucial in exposing and ultimately resolving it, as well as assessing its scale and the effectiveness of policies. The information contained within the GSI enables stakeholders to refine their thinking on how to better respond to modern slavery, as well as how to predict and prevent modern slavery in the future, the authors say.
Here’s a round-up of other noteworthy news and initiatives:
This advocacy brief on the protection of displaced children reflects on lessons arising from past and ongoing crises worldwide, outlines principles to guide action in response to similar crises in the future, and proposes policy actions to strengthen the effective protection of children. It is issued jointly by UNHCR, UNICEF, UNODC, the IOM, OHCHR and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (OSRSG-VAC), in close partnership with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.After the dismissal of a complaint filed in April 2021 against Uniqlo, SMCP, Inditex, and Skechers USA for concealment of crimes against humanity, Sherpa, the Collectif Ethique sur l’étiquette, the European Uyghur Institute, and a Uyghur plaintiff, have filed a civil complaint to request the opening of a judicial investigation into the garment companies’ use of Uyghur forced labour.This article highlights efforts by the Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS) to raise awareness among ethnic minority children and young people about human trafficking and child marriage, through digital technology in Vietnam. The Em Vui (I’m Happy) project was implemented from June 2020 to June 2023 in 52 communes of four provinces and, in the past six months, nearly 400 people, mostly ethnic minority adolescents, accessed the digital platforms each day, says ISDS.Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay US$75 million to sexual abuse victims of Jeffrey Epstein to settle a lawsuit which accused the German lender of helping facilitate the disgraced financier’s sex trafficking operations. The settlement, which requires approval by a federal judge, would resolve the class-action suit that alleged the bank missed warning signs in Epstein’s accounts that he was engaged in wrongdoing. Deutsche Bank accepted Epstein as a client even after 40 underage girls made sexual assault claims against him, and maintained that banking relationship until 2018. This podcast episode explores the factors that can make individuals vulnerable to modern slavery through the story of human trafficking survivor Nopinky. By learning about Nopinky’s life in South Africa before she was trafficked, the makers hope to raise awareness and promote prevention efforts.Free the Slaves is inviting Cambodian organizations to participate in an upcoming online training on “Ensuring Access to Essential Social and Economic Services”, part of its Community Liberation Initiative Certification, for up to 20 organizations on a first-come, first-served basis. The workshop has been organized in partnership with Chab Dai Coalition in Cambodia and focuses on the pivotal role that essential services play in disrupting and preventing human trafficking and slavery in the Cambodian context. WikiRate and Walk Free recently launched the Beyond Compliance Modern Slavery Data Dashboard, which compares industries’ reporting performance over time, and the UK and Australian modern slavery laws. You are invited to participate in a user experience test, which takes five to 10 minutes. Your feedback will help improve the dashboard.

Celebrations for the successful start of our new specialist counselling center Selma – Self-Empowered living in Mainz


On Monday, May 22nd 2023, we were able to celebrate the successful start of the new Selma Department in Mainz together with almost 40 invited guests. Representatives of the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry for Family, Women, Culture and Integration, the city of Mainz, the Mainz-Bingen health department, various social institutions from the state capital and many others came together at Heringsbrunnengasse 6, to get to know Selma and to congratulate her on the work.

We are very pleased about this broad support for our new advice center for women in prostitution, especially since the topic is currently being passionately discussed due to the pending evaluation of the Prostitute Protection Act. Our chairman Dr. Maria Decker, in her welcome address, pointed out that many women are still not registered and have no health insurance. Despite the law, they are exposed to a variety of burdens and there is therefore a great need for appropriate support services as long as it is still possible to buy sex.

In her greeting, Heike Jung, head of the women’s department in the ministry, expressed her great joy at the new counseling center. With Selma, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate is financing a centrally located and easily accessible point of contact for women in Mainz. In addition in Trier, Luna Lu in Ludwigshafen and Roxanne in Koblenz, a large consulting gap in the state can now be closed thanks to SOLWODI.

(Photograph) Dr Heike Jung (left) with greetings words from the ministry for family, women, culture and Integration, next to Miriam Toursel (in purple) and Dr. Maria Decker (in pink) and others
guests of the celebration.

Eva Weickart also pointed out the importance of such offers and, as head of the municipal women’s office, brought greetings and thanks from the Mainz city council. With a view to the stigmatization of women, she emphasized the advantage of non-governmental support options that can be used without official registration. Therefore, Selma represents a great enrichment for the city of Mainz.

Miriam Toursel, head of the new specialist advice center, explained the advice and support offered to those present in more detail and emphasized that women seeking advice can contact the three social workers during the open consultation hours on the Selma premises, without obligation and easily, or simply take a protected break. The professional advice concerns all questions of life – it is free, anonymous and individual. As part of the outreach work, the employees regularly draw attention to Selma and are available for contact and discussions. The open form of the offers is intended to break down inhibitions and also promote social connections.

This is very limited for many women in prostitution, Sabine Klein also reported from her work in health advice at the Mainz-Bingen health department. There she repeatedly meets single mothers who had to leave their children with their grandparents in their country of origin and are now trying to finance their families in Germany through prostitution. Few have any social contacts in the Mainz area. In addition to the separation from children and family, this isolation represents an additional psychological burden. There is therefore great potential in the opportunity to get to know other women at Selma and to exchange ideas with one another. In addition, Ms. Klein announced that she would continue to support Selma in expanding the range of services through special counseling hours.

(Photograph) Miriam Toursel, Head of the new Specialist advice center, looking forward to it together with her colleagues Luisa Wertheim (left) and Isabel Pöhl (right) for the successful
start of Selma.

Afterwards, over finger food, there was an opportunity for good conversations, in which Miriam Toursel and her employees answered a wide variety of questions about Selma. The celebration could also be used to consolidate and expand the network in Mainz, which is so important for the work. This is how the goal hidden in the name Selma can be reached for SOLWODI and the women: self-empowered living in Mainz.”

Afterwards, over finger food, there was an opportunity for good conversations, in which Miriam Toursel and her employees answered a wide variety of questions about Selma. The celebration could also be used to consolidate and expand the network in Mainz, which is so important for the work. This is how the goal hidden in the name Selma can be reached for SOLWODI and the women: self-empowered living in Mainz.”

If you want to support the work of SOLWODI financially, you can do so here:
Kreissparkasse Rhein-Hunsrück
IBAN: DE02 5605 1790 0001 1270 00

Catch-Up with RENATE member, Sr. Eilis Coe


On Saturday 20th May 2023, RENATE member Sr. Eilís Coe spoke with Máirín Ní Ghadhra of RTE Radio na Gaeltachta, on the fight in Ireland against human trafficking. The interview, which took place As Gaeilge, can be found here, at the 31.40 minute mark:

Sr. Eilís has also accepted an invitation from UISG (International Union Superiors General), to attend a training on advocacy in Rome, June 12th – 16th. We look forward to hearing more on her return.

Laudato Si’ Week 2023


News from RENATE member Ms. Flaminia Vola:

Laudato Si’ Week 2023 will be celebrated May 21-28 with the film “The Letter” to mark the eighth anniversary of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on care for creation. This global celebration will unite Catholics to rejoice in the progress we have made in bringing Laudato Si’ to life, and show how the protagonists of “The Letter” are already doing so.

For more information, please visit:’%20Week%202023%20will,encyclical%20on%20care%20for%20creation

25th May International Day of Missing Children: an invitation to talk to children and raise awareness.


On the International Day of Missing Children, we invite you to take the time to talk to children, to talk to them about their difficulties, to listen and hear what they have to say, and to raise awareness about the dangers outside the home.

On May 25, Lithuania, along with the rest of the world, observes International Missing Children’s Day.
According to Missing Children Europe, a report about a missing child is received in Europe every two to three minutes.

In Lithuania, according to the data from the Ministry of the Interior, the register of missing persons includes 2,000 to 2,500 missing minors each year, based on initiated and ongoing search cases. In 2022, there were
1,938 cases of missing children registered, and in the first quarter of 2023, there were 383 cases.

The goal of the Missing Persons’ Family Support Center is to draw attention to children, their problems, and to prevent them from running away from home and going missing. Approximately 90% of all missing children
have run away from home or institutions at least once. Due to a lack of information dissemination and preventive measures, vulnerable children are easily drawn into human trafficking, other crimes, exposed to drug abuse, and suffer from sexual exploitation. In 2022, there were 498 registered cases of children affected by sexual violence, and in the first quarter of 2023 alone, 212 minors have already been affected by sexual exploitation.

It is essential to protect, nurture, and educate our young society members to raise their awareness so that a child, even without realizing the real danger, does not become a victim of crime. The state has a moral obligation to take all possible measures to reduce this threat.
The Missing Persons’ Families Support Center, in its efforts to prevent child disappearances, their involvement in human trafficking and other crimes, has developed the idea of long-term prevention through the installation of the sculpture “Mama..!” in one of the notable places in Vilnius, near the Lithuanian Children and Youth Center, at Konstitucijos Avenue 25, Vilnius.

We invite parents and children to visit the sculpture of the lonely girl and touch her little hands, hoping that all missing children will return home. The tradition of touching the sculpture’s hands originated in 2016, when Pope Francis blessed the statue, rubbing its hands and praying for every missing child worldwide to find their way back home.

For those unable to visit, we also invite you to commemorate this day in all educational institutions in Lithuania. Teachers, along with their students, are encouraged to decorate school courtyards, city parks, and tree branches with colorful paper butterflies, origami cranes, or symbolic keys made by children. Fluttering in the wind, these butterflies, cranes, and keys symbolize anticipation and hope.

For more information, please visit:
Missing Persons’ Families Support Centre

Contact for inquiries: Arūnė Bernatonytė

  • arba +370 670 52725.

Director of Missing Persons‘ Families Support Centre: Natalja Kurčinskaja

Mariana Meshi, Director of ‘Different and Equal,” in Albania, presents at Bakhita Centre for Research Modern Slavery Conference


The Bakhita Centre for Research on Slavery, Exploitation and Abuse organized the conference “Modern Slavery: Research, Creative Practices and Innovative Interventions .

This event brought together emerging insights from academic research, examples of creative practices, innovative interventions in the area of slavery, exploitation, and abuse. Race, EDI, and other topics like stalking, domestic abuse, and online harms were discussed to recognise the intersections of social issues that can be addressed using trauma-informed and creative approaches. There was launched also the book ‘Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking: The Victim Journey” produced with the contribution of academics and practitioners. More information on conference program can be found at:

Albanian high school students capture freedom in photography competition



In Rogacionistet High School Albania, students have organised a competition of photography with the goal of finding the beauty, independence, and freedom of the person in everyday life. Students will share their interpretation of their images in order to convey their messages to the audience. They have until the end of the month to participate, at which point, the best photographs will be exhibited and given symbolic prices. Some of the entries so far are exhibited below.



The CEO of Medaille Trust, Garry Smith and Director of Police and Justice Operations, Marcus Dawson have joined anti-slavery professionals in Lithuania to discuss strategies to combat modern slavery.

The conference bringing together members of various agencies, is being held this week by The Salvation Army in Lithuania. It seeks to raise awareness of modern slavery, how to support survivors and how to pursue justice.




The Albanian Entrepreneurship Academy has moved forward with its first business development course culminating with business pitches from entrepreneurs at an online forum yesterday. The first presentation was given by New York Tirana Bagels which specialises in the sale of bagels, bagel sandwiches, cookies, brownies and cakes. Presenter Alketeja Sokolaj said profits from the bagel business are used by the Different and Equal organisation to provide critical reintegration services to survivors of modern slavery. The organisation helped over 200 modern slavery victims last year.

Link to article:

Link to New York Tirana Bagels Facebook Page:

COATNET Report Tracks The Fight To End Global Labour Exploitation


“On the occasion of 1 May – International Workers’ Day – I share with you a report to the drafting of which the following organizations have contributed: Caritas Albania, Caritas Internationalis, Caritas Lebanon, Caritas Malawi, Caritas Myanmar, Caritas Nepal, Caritas Nigeria, Caritas Rwanda, Caritas Spain, HAART Kenya, RENATE and Secours Catholique-Caritas France.

The report aims to provide a global picture of the crime of trafficking from the perspective of labour exploitation. Gathering data from the field thanks to the contribution of COATNET members, the document provides a snapshot of the concrete actions of COATNET members in terms of protection of victims and survivors of labour exploitation, as well as advocacy at national, regional and international levels to give a voice to the voiceless and raise awareness of this crime.

Networking, for a world against human trafficking: thank you for your courage and commitment in carrying out this mission!

Download the report