2022 Assembly


RENATE Festival of Films raises awareness about Human Trafficking and exploitation


Source: Independent Catholic News 

Author: Jo Siedlecka

A festival of films dedicated to human trafficking took place on Sunday at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

Organised by RENATE (Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation) the day Included an exhibition of art by victims of trafficking, and the announcement of the winners in a short-film competition – with a viewing of their works.

Loreto Sister Imelda Poole MBE, director of RENATE came from Albania to open the festival. She said it aimed to provide a platform for survivors of human trafficking by highlighting their stories and showcasing the work of Religious across Europe who assist victims and lobby for tougher legislation to end the practice.

Dr Jon Hackett, head of the Department of Communications, Media and Marketing and Professor of Film and Communications at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, compered the day and Dr Carol Murphy, Director of St Mary’s Bakhita Centre for Research on Slavery, Exploitation and Abuse also commented on the films

Nine films made by RENATE members and friends were shown at the RSA in three viewing areas, followed by discussions. Sr Imelda Poole moderated discussion in one area after the screening of ‘L’invisibles’ about street children in France, produced largely by Secours Catholique – Caritas France, and the documentary ‘Sisters Act’ about the work of RENATE in Albania. Viewers’ questions ranged from the role of drugs and alcohol, the issue of patriarchy the live-streaming of children as young as two-years-old to sexual predators. There were concerns about increasing drug trafficking and gang culture in Britain and calls for systemic change since human vulnerability is worsened by economic hardship and environmental problems.

‘Ivan’ from Slovakia, highlighting the heartbreaking true story of a man tricked into forced labour in slave-like conditions, was followed by ‘Two little girls’, an animated short film highlighting the broken dreams of two young women sold into prostitution after moving overseas for work. Brigidine Sister Patricia Mulhall, who has worked with trafficked people for more than 15 years, locally and internationally, led a discussion on these. She felt the ‘demand’ side of trafficking should be investigated more and asked why it is that the victims are more like to face being criminalised than their abusers.

Sr Marie Power of TRAC (Trafficking Awareness-Raising and Campaigning), moderated discussion in another room, looking at films including, ‘They’re children not slaves’ focusing on Albania. She said that her organisation, formed by 16 religious congregations in the UK, works with RENATE, “to give victims a forum to tell their stories”.

Presentations were made to winners of the Europe-wide RENATE short-film competition for young people. First prize went to Elliott Engberg, a student at the Warsaw Film School. His movie ‘Traffic’ , showing the commodification of human life, was uncomfortable viewing but strikingly powerful. Speaking from Poland by zoom he said: “this is a topic I care about and I wanted to force the audience to view a the scene of a young woman being abducted and sold to the highest bidder online – probably on there dark web. This happens every day.”

Second place for ‘Humans – Not for Sale’ went to A level students from London, Joel Black and Shadman Jabir. They used a hand-held camera to film ‘victims’ trying to escape, highlighting their vulnerability and disorientation. The third place winner was young animator Emily Downe. Her highly original film ‘Plain Sight’, based on drawings she made while walking around Soho, showed how victims of modern slavery are there in our city streets in broad daylight – and we need to be more conscious of their presence.

There were calls for the UK’s Modern Slavery Act of 2015 to be better enforced. And it was felt that the international Anti-Slavery Day on 18 October is a key opportunity to highlight human trafficking and its causes, using some of the festival’s 12 films to raise awareness.

All the films are available on the RENATE Events website:

For other media coverage of the film festival, see Ellen Teague’s article on The Tablet

RENATE Film Festival Press launch- 29 July 2021.


RENATE members and Press representatives gathered at noon at the BAFTA Piccadilly,(British Academy of Film and Television Awards) London, on 29 July 2021 to launch the RENATE Film Festival.

Mr. Julian Shaw, Director BAFTA Piccadilly, welcome everybody and gave support for RENATE’s Festival of Film, stating he would like to see such a festival become a regular calendar event in the work to raise awareness about and advocate against the crime of human trafficking.

Dr. Jon Hackett, Head Communications, Media and Marketing at St. Mary’s, Twickenham will act as Moderator of the Film Festival when it takes place at the BAFTA Piccadilly on Sunday, 12 September 2021 and spoke at the Press launch about the powerful communications instrument which film is recognised for. Jon congratulated RENATE on being innovative and dynamic in its approach to communicating through the medium of film and the possibilities for extended reach to as wide an audience as possible when raising awareness about Human Trafficking and Exploitation. He introduced each of the panel.

The press and panelists then watched a newly-created innovative survivor led film produced in Albania by a partnership of NGOS all members of RENATE included Different and Equal, Vatra, Mary Ward Loreto and Shkej. This was totally produced by all protagonist for free as part of the effort of raisin awareness against Human Trafficking on The World day against Human Trafficking, July 3oth 2021.

Imelda Poole, IBVM, President RENATE Europe, linked this film with her input. She firstly welcomed the participants on behalf of RENATE and thanked BAFTA for their amazing contribution to this event. She gave a background and vision of RENATE linking this with stories from the films and the recent issue of UK children trafficked to Syria by radicalisers and refused entry back into the UK as now deemed a danger to society! each of whom received the RENATE Film Festival marketing materials from the organizing team and volunteers.

Following her input we showed a short second film related to labour trafficking produced by Caritas Slovakia.
RENATE member Marie Power, HFB, also related her input on RENATE and advocacy work. She spoke about the importance and role which film as a medium can play in advocacy, in addition to awareness-raising, prevention, protection and with increasing confidence. She showed how film can be deployed as a medium through which the voices of human trafficking survivors can lead the way in the work to end this crime against the dignity of the human person.

Rachel Sweetman, RENATE’s social media person, concluded the inputs with a clear explanation of the film competition for young people.
The press launch was then followed with a dynamic panel Questions and answer session and this was followed by a networking reception, where the Press continued to interview and ask questions re RENATE and the film festival in a more informal way.

The whole event was a most moving and challenging debate for all participants. We came away animated and ready for the next steps in the mission.


Submissions for the Film Festival Competition are accepted up to 20 August 2021.  

For more information about the Film Festival competition:

RENATE recording for 8 February 2021 (launch on 7th)


Don’t forget to log into RENATE’s events page for news of RENATE’s latest video recording, prepared for the occasion of the 8 February, the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.

The central theme of the video recording is ‘’An Economy without Human Trafficking,’’ with input on various aspects of RENATE’s anti-human trafficking work.

The video will be launched on YouTube at 18:00 (GMT) 7 February next, by way of an evening vigil on the eve of the feast of St. Bakhita, the patron saint of all who are trafficked.

Looking forward to your joining us then!

Report on the RENATE Trailer event on Sunday evening 18 October


RENATE webinar on the occasion of 18 October 2020:- RENATE Film Festival Trailer event.

RENATE members, friends and colleagues gathered online, Sunday 18 October 2020, to mark the European Day against Human Trafficking by launching a trailer of the RENATE Film Festival, which is scheduled to take place on 12 September 2021, at the BAFTA Centre, London, UK.

Imelda Poole, IBVM, President RENATE Europe and Julie Etchingham, Journalist, Presenter and Reporter for ITV News at Ten, opened the hour-long event, giving the background to the purpose of the Film Festival and Film Competition, as being a dynamic means to raise Human Trafficking awareness across as wide a demographic as possible.

Ana Stakaj, CEO Mary Ward Loreto Albania, presented an overall perspective on the Film Festival and Film Competition, inviting participation from youths aged 16-14, in the creation of ‘’shorts’’ with a view to highlighting consciousness about anti-human trafficking.

Ada Brachou, Ph.D researcher gave a news update on the latest statistics on Human trafficking across Europe and the key challenges to surmount.

Annie Bannister, Ana Stakaj and Rachel Sweetman shared snippets of films which will be screened at the Film Festival and Simon Teague gave a most helpful overview of the structure of film festival and how to prepare further submissions for the Film Competition.

Imelda held an open conversation with 3 other RENATE members (Ada Brachou, Claudia Conroy & Annie Bannister), on the concerns for raising as much awareness as possible about  human trafficking, amongst the younger population, who are becoming increasingly vulnerable due to online exposure during this time of COVID-19 pandemic.

For those of us who have never been to the BAFTA Centre, it was fascinating to see a short overview of the BAFTA building and RSA building where event will be held and whetted our appetites for the opportunity to enter the Film Competition and attend the Film Festival next year!

We look forward to your participation in the Film Competition and encourage your engagement and support.

To review the YouTube recording of the event:

Full details of the Film Festival event & competition at:

Film as a medium of awareness-raising.


RENATE Film Competition!

Remember, now is the time to prepare and send short films (4 minutes maximum) to be considered at the RENATE Film Festival, taking place at BAFTA and the Royal Society of Arts, London, UK  to mark the European anti-Human Trafficking Day, 18 October 2020. RENATE invites students aged 16-24 years to join in RENATE’s mission, using the following slogan and #tags as themes for short films (four minutes):

Slavery – Human Trafficking – Near YOU!




Full information about submitting films, news about the festival and the link to the RENATE Film Competition are available on the newly established RENATE Events website

Use of the medium of film, is gaining traction in the anti-human trafficking world. Wells of Hope– the award winning documentary film about the Talitha Kum network in the Middle East,  is set for continued wider-audience engagement as it will be screened at some major film festivals such as the ‘WOW Film Festival’ in Jordan and the ‘Al Bahr short Film Festival’ in Malaga in the coming months.

Lia Giovinazzi Beltrami, who directed Wells of Hope , brought further acclaim to the film, having been awarded Best Director for the film.

The documentary is now available to view and download via donation, at  In making a donation, you will be supporting Talitha Kum in continuing to care for the survivors of human trafficking and exploitation in addition to supporting the formation of the Talitha Kum networks in Africa and Asia.