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2022 Assembly

 

Awareness Raising in Schools Event – Sr. Patricia Mulhall, St. Gregory’s Catholic School, Kent, June 2023.

 

On Monday 12th June as part of RENATE’s newest Awareness Raising in Schools project, Sr. Patricia Mulhall visited St. Gregory’s Catholic School in Kent, to speak to 120 Sixth Form students on human trafficking.

This newly funded project aims to run an awareness raising event in at least one school in a minimum of 28 countries in the RENATE network in the year 2023, and the same again in the year 2024. These events can take place in the form of an awareness raising talk, film premier, dynamic awareness raising workshops, or a simple Q+A format.

Before her talk, Sr. Patricia shared that students had devised their own questions and presented them to her beforehand, so that Sr. Patricia could tailor her presentation to their specific questions. This made for an extremely engaging and informative awareness raising event.

An inspirational start to RENATE’s awareness raising events in the UK!

News from SOLWODI Germany: Awareness Raising Against Human Trafficking at the Kirchentag, Nürnberg, June 2023.

 

Recently, members of SOLWODI Germany spent 4 days at the Kirchentag (Church Day) in Nürnberg, informing people about their work and human trafficking. Pictured below, is their stall and roll-up posters with many interesting infographics regarding the human trafficking of Nigerian women.

Around 70,000 people attended this event, meaning a phenomenal awareness raising effort was achieved by SOLWODI Germany.

Our heartiest congratulations on such a successful event!

REWATCH: OLA Sisters – Spotlight on Human Trafficking – a Panel Discussion of the 2023 Tip Report.

 

Last Thursday 15th June, the US Government published its annual Trafficking in Persons Report. The 2023 TIP Report is the world’s most comprehensive review of governmental anti-trafficking efforts and assesses government actions around the world to combat human trafficking.

On the 21st June, John McGeady, OLA Justice Officer, was joined in conversation by RENATE’s Anne Kelleher (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation), Sr Liz Byrne (IBVM), a Loreto Sister and a representative of Irish campaign group APT – Act to Prevent Trafficking, and Mr. David Lohan, author of At Freedom’s Crossroads: Making Sense of Modern Slavery.

The full livestream can be viewed on the OLA Sisters Facebook page, or through this link.

News from Croatia, Sr. Viktorija Simic – Awareness Raising Talk in Parish Near Vinkovci.

 

On the 22nd June 2023, Sr. Viktorija Simic led a talk on trafficking in people with members of the local parish. St. Viktorija also led the adoration afterwards in the parish near Vinkovci, in the eastern part of Croatia. She was invited by the director of a Catholic association called ‘Radost’ and the Parish priest.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first time that Sr. Viktorija has been able to visit a parish to talk about human trafficking, and it is the second time that she had been invited to that particular parish – the first occasion being in 2015.

Her engaging and thought-provoking talk was highly successful, and we thank her for her dedicated work in the fight against human trafficking.

News from Albania – RENATE’s Country Group from Albania meet to discuss updates and future planning, 28th April 2023.

 

On Friday 28th April 2023, 15 members of the RENATE Albania Country group met to discuss and plan updates and future activities for RENATE Albania.

At this meeting, the group welcomed new members, selected a country representative for the Working Board meeting, taking place June 2023, discussed ongoing RENATE projects, including awareness raising in schools and the law research, and planned for future activities and engagements.

Gazmir Memaj was selected as the representative for Albania for the Working Board meeting and will gather with all other Working Board country representatives in St. Ottillien on the 5th-9th June 2023.

After a dynamic and engaging discussion on the challenges faced by the country group, potential methods to overcome these challenges, and strategic forward planning, the group will meet again on 27th June 2023.

Child protection platform in Austria denounces treatment of migrants

 

News from Austria, from RENATE member Sr. Magdalena Eichinger: please scroll for original text in German

The “Platform against Exploitation and Human Trafficking” has pointed out gaps in the protection of children in Austria. “Austria violates children’s rights as long as unaccompanied refugee-minors are denied immediate custody,” it criticizes.
It is “unacceptable” that decisions on custody are often made only after months, that furthermore “thousands of young people are now disappearing from institutions in Austria and exposing themselves to the dangers of trafficking, exploitation and child trafficking, simply because populist signals in migration policy and disputes over resources between the federal and provincial governments prevent effective
protection measures”. 
A symposium in Vienna on 20 June entitled “Children and young people as victims of exploitation and child trafficking” is also intended to change this situation, the organizers, among them CARITAS, the religious congregations and “Jugend Eine Welt”, announced on Thursday.


Comprehensive child protection required
Comprehensive child protection requires broad strategic coordination between governmental and non-governmental actors, and between federal and state levels, the organizations demand. This requires a national coordination and cooperation mechanism. The Platform criticizes that the guidelines for action on child trafficking drawn up in 2016 by the Task Force to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings are hardly known by child- and youth welfare agencies, health personnel and asylum authorities.
The Platform welcomes the current revision of the guidelines and the efforts to involve all relevant professional groups. It calls on the decision-makers at federal and state level to support the process. It is also positive that the “AG Kinderhandel” (Working Group on Child Trafficking) already launched a concept two years ago to establish a protection centre for victims of child trafficking.


Background
One of the most fundamental rights of every child is that parents provide for his or her care, upbringing, property management and legal representation (“custody”). If parents are unable to do so, there is a subsidiary state obligation to assume this responsibility. These principles are found in international children’s rights as well as in Austrian constitutional and family law. And they apply all the more to unaccompanied refugee minors who are found in Austria without parents, the Platform emphasized. These young people find themselves in “situations of acute risk to the well-being of the child” as a result of traumatic experiences of flight, migration and exploitation.

Kinderschutz-Plattform in Österreich prangert Umgang mit Migranten an

Die Plattform gegen Ausbeutung und Menschenhandel hat auf Lücken im Kinderschutz in Österreich hingewiesen. „Österreich verletzt Kinderrechte, solange unbegleiteten minderjährigen Flüchtlingen die sofortige Übernahme von Obsorge verweigert wird”, lautet die Kritik. 

Es sei „nicht hinzunehmen”, dass Obsorgeentscheidungen vielfach erst nach Monaten getroffen werden, dass ferner „mittlerweile Tausende von Jugendlichen aus Einrichtungen in Österreich verschwinden und sich Gefahren von Schlepperei, Ausbeutung und Kinderhandel aussetzen, nur weil populistische Signale in der Migrationspolitik und Streit über Ressourcen zwischen Bund und Ländern effektive Schutzmaßnahmen verhindern.”  

Etwas ändern soll daran auch ein Symposium in Wien am 20. Juni unter dem Titel: „Kinder und Jugendliche als Opfer von Ausbeutung und Kinderhandel”, teilten die Organisatoren, unter ihnen die Caritas, die Ordensgemeinschaften und „Jugend Eine Welt”, am Donnerstag mit. 

  1. Umfassender Kinderschutz gefordert

Für einen umfassenden Kinderschutz bedarf es einer breiten strategischen Koordinierung zwischen staatlichen und nicht staatlichen Akteuren, auch zwischen Bundes- und Landesebene, fordern die Organisationen. Dazu brauche es einen nationalen Koordinierungs- und Kooperationsmechanismus. Die im Jahr 2016 erstellten Handlungsorientierungen zu Kinderhandel von der Task Force zur Bekämpfung des Menschenhandels seien zudem bei Kinder- und Jugendhilfeträgern, Gesundheitspersonal und Asylbehörden wenig bekannt, bemängelt die Plattform.

Zu begrüßen sei die aktuelle Überarbeitung der Handlungsorientierungen und das Bemühen, alle relevanten Berufsgruppen einzubinden. Man fordere die Entscheidungsträger auf Bundes- und Landesebene dazu auf, den Prozess zu unterstützen. Ebenso positiv sei , dass die „AG Kinderhandel” bereits vor zwei Jahren ein Konzept zur Etablierung einer Schutzeinrichtung für Opfer von Kinderhandel auf den Weg gebracht habe.  

2. Hintergrund 

Zu den grundlegendsten Rechten jedes Kindes zählt, dass Eltern für seine Pflege, Erziehung, Vermögensverwaltung und rechtliche Vertretung sorgen („Obsorge”). Sind Eltern dazu nicht in der Lage, besteht eine subsidiäre staatliche Verpflichtung zur Übernahme dieser Verantwortung. Diese Grundsätze finden sich in internationalen Kinderrechten ebenso wie im österreichischen Verfassungs- und Familienrecht. Und sie gelten umso mehr für unbegleitet geflüchtete Minderjährige, die ohne Eltern in Österreich angetroffen werden, betonte die Plattform. Diese jungen Menschen befänden sich infolge etwa von traumatisierenden Erfahrungen von Flucht, Migration und Ausbeutung in „Situationen akuter Kindeswohlgefährdung“.

Pope Francis commemorates World Refugee Day

 

DURING SUNDAY’S ANGELUS PRAYER, POPE FRANCIS REMEMBERS THE VICTIMS OF THE TRAGIC SHIPWRECK OF MIGRANTS OFF THE COAST OF GREECE, AND RENEWS HIS PRAYERS FOR ALL. HE IMPLORE’S EVERY EFFORT TO PREVENT SUCH TRAGEDIES.

At the conclusion of Sunday’s Angelus, Pope Francis recalled that Tuesday 20 June marks the United Nations World Refugee Day. And on this theme he expressed his great sadness and sorrow when remembering the tragic shipwreck carrying an estimated 700 passengers that occurred last Wednesday off the coast of Greece, even with it seems the sea was calm.

“I reiterate my prayer for those who have lost their lives, and I implore that everything possible always be done to prevent similar tragedies.”

The search for the missing in international waters continues.’ 

Vatican News, 20 June 2023.

At this time 78 people are confirmed dead and 104 have been rescued.

Around 100 children are among the missing it may be confirmed to be the biggest tragedy in the Mediterranean.

RENATE WORKING BOARD MEETING, ST. OTTILIEN’s ARCHABBEY, ERESING, GERMANY, JUNE 5TH – 9TH 2023.

 

RENATE Core Group with a number of RENATE Working Board members on their final day at St. Ottilien’s Archabbey, Eresing, Germany. June 5th – 9th 2023.

On the week of the 5th June 2023, almost 30 RENATE Working Board Members gathered both online and in person at St. Ottiliens Archabbey, in Eresing, Germany, for the annual RENATE Working Board Meeting.

Surrounding by the tranquil landscapes of the Abbey, our Working Board members convened to review the work of the member countries since last year’s meeting, provide updates and offer insights from their countries. This was also the first meeting of our new Core Group with the Working Board since our General Assembly in Fatima, Portugal, November 2022.

Amongst the many highlights of our week, particular interest was sparked by the presentations of Mother Mechtilde Thurmer, OSB, Abbess of the Benedictine Abbey of Maria Frieden, who shared her experiences working with & supporting victims of exploitation, trafficking, violence and victimisation in Germany and Natalia Holynska of CARITAS UKRAINE, who shared openly about the current situation in Ukraine and the supporting and assisting victims of human trafficking.

Our heartiest thanks to our gracious hosts, facilitator, guest speakers and RENATE members for all of their hard work and contributions towards a hugely successful 2023 RENATE Working Board meeting.

See photography below by Brian O’Toole.

Trafficking in Persons Report 2023 Published

 

The US Department of State published their 2023 edition of the Trafficking in Persons report on the evening of the 15th June.

Introducing the report, Secratary of State Antony Blinken asserts that it provides “a comprehensive overview of the state of human trafficking around the world and the tools we are using to strengthen our response and coordination. It also highlights the stories of survivors, emerging tactics—like cyber scam operations—used by traffickers and provides recommendations for how we can better work together to address this crime.”

Access the TIP report here

Please note the above document contains only the introduction section to the report. To request a full version including the individual country narratives, please email the US Department of State at TIPOutreach@state.gov.