2022 Assembly


OSCE and Albanian National Anti-Trafficking Co-ordinator Meeting in Tirana


National Anti-Trafficking Co-ordinators from across South-Eastern Europe as well as the UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, met in Tirana on Thursday, 12th May, 2016, to exchange views and good practices on national efforts to fight human trafficking. They paid special attention to the problem of unaccompanied minors in this region, with a view to increasing regional co-operation on the identification, assistance and referral of child victims and potential victims of trafficking.
Full report available at

ANDANTE Newsletter, May 2016


ANDANTE, the European Alliance of Catholic Women’s Organisations, has released its May 2016 Newsletter, available attached. Both RENATE and Mary Ward Loreto (Albania) are acknowledged in the Newsletter!
In addition to news from member organisations, the member’s statements of ‘international policy related to refugees’ and the outcomes of the ANDANTE General Assembly, (April 16th-17th, 2016) feature as the highlights of the Newsletter.
The ANDANTE 10 year Jubilee Brochure is embedded into the Newsletter and is a compilation of the various activities, meetings and events undertaken by ANDANTE in the last decade.
ANDANTE Newsletter_14 May 2016
Read and enjoy!
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

RENATE Funding Supports Successful Capacity Building with Different & Equal Staff


Tirana, Albania, 10th-11th December, 2015
A grant from RENATE assisted the staff of the charity, Different and Equal, to attend a Retreat together at the end of the calendar year, 2015.
The purpose of the Retreat was to review the work of the past year, acknowledge and celebrate all that had been achieved and build capacity amongst the team in order to meet the challenges of the work in the following year.
Comprising discussion, analysis and reflection, 22 staff members engaged in a series of staff development activities, led by Egla Lula and Mariana Meshi, Director, Different and Equal.
Mariana Meshi said “…the retreat is a valuable opportunity to get to know each another as colleagues on a personal level, which is otherwise impossible due to the demands of daily work with the victims of human trafficking”.
The final component of the Capacity Building exercise was a Christmas dinner held on the 29th December. The dinner provided the charity with the opportunity to express appreciation and gratitude to all the staff for the work of the year.
Full Report is available on the Members Area.
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

RENATE Mapping Across Europe


Cover for RENATE MappingJust published, the RENATE Mapping Across Europe Report provides rich insights into the contribution being made by women religious, their congregations and associates in the world-wide efforts to bring an end to Human Trafficking.
Set within the wider context of the most recent US Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report published in July 2015, the RENATE Mapping Across Europe Report illustrates the diverse actions undertaken by RENATE members in 13 countries from East, Central and Western Europe. These actions range from victim protection through shelters, to education-awareness, informing policy, recovery and integration, advocacy as well as campaigning.
In addition to assessing existing systems of victim identification and support within the 13 participating countries, attention is drawn to possible loopholes within such systems, as well as risks of abuse and exploitation.
Attentive to the pain of the victims of human trafficking, the Report proposes conclusions and recommendations which when implemented, have the power to transform the lives of those who are the victims of this crime against humanity.
RENATE Mapping Across Europe
Introduction by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Govt Urged to Do More for Those in Prostitution


President of RENATE and spokeswoman for Act to Prevent Trafficking (APT) jointly criticise Amnesty International’s stance on prostitution.

Sr Imelda Poole, President of RENATE
Sr Imelda Poole, President of RENATE

An international network of nuns working to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation has called on the Government to do more to fund exit programmes for women trapped in prostitution.
At a meeting in Dublin recently, board members of RENATE (Religious in Europe against Trafficking and Exploitation) discussed their response to the refugee crisis and the challenges it presents to children and adults vulnerable to trafficking.
Representatives from countries such as Albania, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, and UK, attended the meeting in All Hallows College.
The board members also discussed new research published in the report ‘A Mapping Across Europe’ which will form the basis of a discussion on future strategy and bring about a blueprint for the way forward for the organisation.
Irish board member of RENATE, Sr Eilís Coe called on the Government to restore funding to Ruhama, an NGO which helps women in prostitution.
“One of the things we need for women in prostitution is an exit strategy, it is no good asking a woman to come out of prostitution if there isn’t something she can be offered instead so as to earn a living.”
Sr Eilís Coe of Act to Prevent Trafficking (APT)
Sr Eilís Coe of Act to Prevent Trafficking (APT)

She warned that some women waiting for years for a decision on their asylum application in direct provision are supplementing the €19 a week they get through prostitution.
“By putting them in those centres, the Government has given them an incentive to go out and supplement their €19 by prostituting themselves in Ireland. They have to be helped. The Government must provide a level of maintenance for women so that they are not forced to do this,” Sr Eilís Coe said.
The president of RENATE, Sr Imelda Poole, who is based in Albania and Sr Coe also hit out at Amnesty International’s controversial decision to support the decriminalisation of sex work and prostitution, as well as for the decriminalisation of the purchase of sex.
Sr Coe said that Act to Prevent Trafficking (APT) in Ireland would be seeking a meeting with Amnesty and she accused the organisation of “contradicting their very foundational belief” in the dignity of every person and their human rights.
“They are not on the side of the victims; they think they are because they are giving rights to prostitution but they are not because they are not criminalising the punter,” Sr Poole criticised.
Members of RENATE also discussed the challenges the refugee crisis presents in relation to trafficking and Sr Imelda Poole called on governments to support DNA identification projects which help trace trafficked children.
She warned that thousands of children are lost through the current massive movement of people. One 14 year old boy and his mother who ended up in Northern Ireland approached a nun there. They had fled Albania as pressure on them increased to radicalise for Syria.
Recalling her recent visit to a refugee camp in the Albanian capital Tirana, she said she had met five Iraqi women there.
“They were not in fact Iraqi, they were actually Iranian but they had fled to Iraq from Iran after the collapse of the Shah. These families have been on the move – suddenly they are targeted in Iraq and so they had to flee from Iraq with their children and their children’s children.”
“Two of their children had been separated from them and were somewhere in an asylum camp in Germany… One of the children of these women wanted to give me information so that we, through RENATE, could try to track down the two children because we work with refugee church service in Germany.”
“The movement of migrants or refugees is impacting all of us. There are thousands of children lost through this movement of people. Tracing is very important,” Sr Poole emphasised.
DNA identification, she explained, had been used in Haiti when traffickers sought to exploit the insecurity and chaos following the earthquake to traffic orphaned children.
Thanks DNA identification, busloads of children who were taken out of the country in the post-earthquake mayhem and were trafficked to Columbia for paid adoption, were all tracked down and reunited with their families in Haiti bar six.
“There now needs to be some kind of global project on DNA. The traffickers are using high tech in their clandestine criminal behaviour, so those working against trafficking have got to get their act more together and use high tech to beat the traffickers,” she stated.
The IBVM Sister said there was a need for closer cooperation through networking and the development of a hub through which all the anti-trafficking networks could access resources.
“It has the highest illegal economy now. It used to be weapons – we’ve usurped drugs. Billions is being gained by the traffickers – it is a very urgent matter.”
By Sarah Mac Donald – 13 November, 2015 at Catholic Ireland.

Ending Modern Slavery: Everyone Has a Role and Everyone Can Help Prevention


18.10.2015 in AlbaniaOn the European Day Against Human Trafficking, October 18th, activities took place with the MWL Women’s groups, in Tropoja, Hot i Ri, Kallmet, Fier, and Shendelli. Men joined the activities as well, joining in with their role in prevention and combating Modern Day Slavery.
These activities consisted of awareness raising on the phenomena of human trafficking, training on identification of potential victims, how to avoid risk, prayers for the victims and round table discussions. The national helpline number for reporting potential human trafficking cases was distributed to many as part of the campaigns. The 128 participants realised the necessity to learn more about this phenomena which puts the safety of their children at risk.
An emphasis was put on the Modern Day Slavery concept in order to have a better understanding of trafficking in persons. A video of statistics around Europe was shown to give a general idea on the phenomena. Three scenarios/stories of trafficked victims were shared with the students in Kallmet, who were divided into three groups. Various opinions and thoughts were shared by the participants, who were all very active. Through the stories it became clear who are the possible traffickers and who are the possible victims and how to assist the trafficked victims.
Young women in the groups were encouraged to be positive and to express themselves in this social atmosphere. They learned new ways of being successful in their lives which are full of challenges. They engaged themselves in the meetings, shared and exchanged details of school life which could put them at risk.
Round table discussions and powerful stories were shared during the meeting conducted at Mary Ward Loreto Centre in the small village of Shendelli. Through emotional speeches and tears sometimes, they committed themselves to fight Modern Day Slavery, to be saviors and not victims, through raising awareness in their families and community. They shared their challenges and highlighted the power of maternal energy that gives them the strength to protect their families.
In the end of the meeting in Shendelli, everyone felt free to light a candle and make a prayer at the small church of the village, as a symbol of Saving Victims and being a light for their support!
The young women of Tropoja decided to pray and light candles at the Saint Anthony Church in Laç, which is known in Albania as a special place of pilgrimage. All were dressed in white to show their solidarity for the victims of human trafficking.
Women and men in Fier joined in prayers in the church of Fier and lit candles. After the Mass, they came with the need to learn more about Modern Day Slavery, and a meeting took place with the women.
Prepared by the Key Workers of MWL Women

Refugees Help MWL Staff Understand Better the Reality of the Crisis Today


The National Reception Centre for Refugees in Albania is in Babrru, Tirana. This centre is supported from the state budget and by the ministry of social welfare, with 15 staff members who offer all services: food, clothing, health care, education for children and integration into the albanian society. Food costs are provided by the state budget, who give approximately 3 dollars a day. Although this is not much it helps. Support also comes from other organizations such as the United Nations aid to Refugees organization which operates in Albania. (UNHCR) The link to this agency in the Balkans is: The process of their local integration is still a difficult challenge and a joint effort takes place between the stakeholders: refugees, public authorities, non-governmental organizations and foreign agencies.
Once the refugees have been registered and received the necessary immediate support such as legal aid, medical, both psychological and physical help, and the necessary financial aid, they either leave the centre to move on to a further country or they are housed in private accommodation which is self-financed or supported by NGOs. The centre in Babrru was opened in 2014. In this centre are all the refugees who are applying for asylum in Albania, mainly for political reasons.  The refuges over the past year have come from many countries such as Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria and Kosovo (these are regarding the present conflict between Serbia and Kosovo).
The highest number of refugees which they have had in the camp at any one time was 170 refugees. This was in February when a large number of Syrian refugees came to the camp.  At the moment there are 56 refugees in the camp, either as individuals or as a family, this includes a newly born baby who has special services. Right now there are 3 Syrians in the camp, last week there were 32 Syrians who left after they had received their initial papers. This gave them the freedom to travel through Albania and in to another country.
It should be said that in all this chaos, there were no identified cases of trafficking, however there were immigrants violated along the way and who could have been in the hands of traffickers and who were in trauma on arrival and are receiving psychological assistance. One girl from Afghanistan, whom we met, had a terrible rash all over her body, a distinct sign of being in post trauma.
Click here to read the entire Report on Visit to the Reception Centre for Refugees in Babrru, Albania written by Sr. Imelda Poole, IBVM & Manushaqe Cypi.

Mary Ward Loreto & URAT Anti-Trafficking Awareness-Raising Project in Albania


MWL and URAT Project in AlbaniaSince 2014, the New Project URAT in Albania, has led more than forty awareness-raising training seminars on human trafficking. Managed and funded by the NGO Mary Ward Loreto in Albania, the project is a collaboration with several other organisations present in Albania, e.g. the Peace Corps, the NGO Different and Equal, the IRCA (Institute of Romani Culture in Albania) and De Nobi Te Gruas Shqiptare. The project focused primarily on those who are socially and economically marginalised, the most vulnerable in Albania, who need protection against different forms of exploitation, including human trafficking.
A full report on the project is available at

Report from RENATE Working Board Meeting in Albania


RENATE Working Board meeting in Durrës, Albania
9-16 March, 2015
RENATE Working Board Meeting in Albania, 9-16 March 2015
The reassuring words of Matthew 18:21 ‘’For where two or three have gathered together in my name, I am there in their midst,’’ set the tone for the yearly general meeting of the RENATE Working Board in Albania.
Because the Working Board gathers formally once a year, the meeting is of great importance not only as a time when Board members make time to get together, share knowledge and best practise concerning human trafficking and exploitation, but equally as a time of discernment for when Board members and staff reflect upon much that has been achieved over the last year, and to plan for all that is yet to be done in order to fulfil the mission, vision, goals and objectives of RENATE.
With 18 European countries represented around the table, the excellent facilitation provided by Patricia Mulhall, CSB, was essential to the 28 participant’s full participation and to ensuring a productive week together.
The work of the week included consideration of the following:

  • The RENATE Annual Report, 2014.
  • The audited accounts for RENATE, for the period 1st October 2013 to 30th September, 2014.
  • Discernment processes, with a view to informing future priorities.
  • Capacity building, with the specific intention of increasing membership from Eastern Europe.
  • How best to deploy existing resources, i.e. development of the WEB.
  • Communications, with an appeal to all members to engage, respond and be more proactive in communicating their local stories and initiatives.
  • RENATE Corporate Campaign, where the Board identified significant dates in the calendar for RENATE to make, e.g. International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking; St. Bakhita Day,  8th February and European Human Trafficking Day, 18th October.
  • Mapping Exercise, update and likely composition of the final report.
  • Support available through grant-aid from RENATE e.g. to assist local projects; improve English-language skills.
  • Katholikentag 2016 in Leipzig, Germany, where RENATE will take a stand to promote its work, as well as awareness raising.
  • Future trainings e.g. Madrid, Spain 31st May- 5th June, 2015; Dublin, Ireland 25th-31st October, 2015.

Delegates appreciated the thorough insight into the local situation in Albania, as conveyed by guest speakers Ep. George Frendo OP; Fr. Giovanni Peragine; Mrs. Edlira Gjoni; Mrs. Elona Gjebrea and Mrs. Marjana Meshi. Each of whom shared aspects of the following specific to their own individual responsibilities:

  • The rich Religions and Faith Traditions of Albania.
  • An overview of the Conference of Religious in Albania.
  • The cultural reality of Albania.
  • An overview of the human trafficking situation in Albania and Government policies to try to combat this.
  • The work of anti-trafficking at grass-roots level in Albania.

At this year’s working Board, there were new members from Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania and Malta who brought new perspectives to bear, which created an interesting dynamic .
Each day’s work was underpinned by Mass at the beginning of each day and Theological Reflections, based on the daily theme/topic, drawing the formal business of the day to a close.
The highlight of the week was undoubtedly the Field Trips to witness first-hand the mission of anti-trafficking in Albania, through Mary Ward Loreto and the Roma Projects; Different and Equal Project; and sharing time with members of the local women’s group at Shkoder/Hot I Ri project.
Through these projects, the enormity of the challenge to try to combat human trafficking was reduced to realistic possibilities and where the phrase ‘’No longer slaves but brothers and sisters’’ came alive.
Believing that God will ask each of us ‘’What did you do for your brother/sister?’’ (Gen 4; 9-10), the work of the week through formal meetings, prayers, liturgies, various exchanges and quiet reflection ensured that each participant returns to her own country strengthened in her commitment to the social teachings of the church in which the work against human trafficking is considered the mission of God.
Clearly enormous work was undertaken by Sr. Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE and her team at Mary Ward Loreto, Albania. No request seemed too much to ask. The team were true ambassadors for Albania, as they worked conscientiously to ensure the success of the Board meeting in their country.
Justa del Sol_Memorias de Albania_ES
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

RENATE Working Board Meeting in Albania


From 9th until 16th March 2015, the Working Board of RENATE have their annual meeting in Durrës, Albania. It is planned that during this time there will be an opportunity to experience the work of the Albanian people working in the field of anti-trafficking and to learn from them of the many challenges which they face and the actions being taken. The Working Board is privileged to have the opportunity to become exposed to a new cultural reality. The Working Board of RENATE will be strategically planning for the future, addressing the question of internal structures, communications, training programmes, finance, rapid response on behalf of our beneficiaries in the field, and ensuring that a realistic plan of action is in place which can be implemented over the next calendar year. We would like to thank our generous donors who enabled the implementation of the second year of our Action Plan and for continuing this support into the future.