2022 Assembly


France Adopts Historic Law to Decriminalise Prostituted Individuals


The French Government voted 64:12 to penalise the buyers of sex, equating the purchase of a sexual act with direct support of pimping, organised crime and sex trafficking, on the 6th of April, 2016. The vote was taken calling upon the country’s abolitionist tradition and its fundamental principles of democracy, human rights and women’s equality. France is now amongst an increasing number of countries around the world that are making formal, legislated efforts to end demand for paid sex. This is also central to the fight against pimping, procuring and trafficking.
Ms. Rosen Hicher, a survivor of prostitution and key member of Abolition 2012 – a collective of over 60 French organizations and survivors – has been to the forefront of championing the passage of this new legislation. Ms. Hicher walked 800 kilometres across France in 2014 to raise awareness about the pervasive harms that ‘clients’ perpetrate on prostituted women and girls, who constitute the overwhelming majority of individuals bought and sold in the sex trade.
“In our discourse about prostitution, we only talk about the prostituted, rarely of the pimp and never about the ‘client,'” says Ms. Hicher, who is also a member of SPACE International – a global advocacy network of sex trade survivors. “Today, France has come to understand that without buyers, the business of prostitution would not exist. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but today, we won.”
Some general details of the new law are as follows:
(1) Aims to protect exploited persons in the sex trade;
(2) Offers access to financial compensation for victims of prostitution and trafficking;
(3) Mandates the implementation of a National exit policy to give victims access to social services, including housing, and the creation of school programs to discuss sexual commodification and exploitation;
(4) Grants temporary residency permits to foreign victims of sex trafficking.
For full information, please see
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Social Media Impact Awards 2016 Activate, Educate & Inspire


Amongst the winning films at the recently held Social Media Impact Awards (SIMA Awards), a number of films which cover the themes of exploitation of workers, prostitution, the migrant crisis in Europe and the ”jungle” at Calais, France were amongst the winners.
The films range in length from short (8 minutes) to full length (104 minutes), with the following being particularly relevant to our own work:
1. ”Dream Catcher” (104 minutes), about human trafficking, prostitution and exploitation. Awarded Best Director (Kim Longinotto).
2. ”The True Cost” (92 mins), about the human and environmental cost of the clothing industry. Jury Prize Winner & Special Mention Award.
3. ”Transit Zone” (32 mins), about refugees in Calais, France. Best Sound Editing Award and also received Special Mention.
4. ”Men Buy Sex” (8 mins), directed by Alice Russell. Best Creative Activism Award.
Video clips of the above are available on and also at
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December 2015


“This year’s International Day for the Abolition of Slavery comes as the international community is intensifying efforts to eradicate poverty and forge a post-2015 development agenda. In pursuing these goals, it is vital that we give special consideration to ending modern-day slavery and servitude which affects the poorest, most socially excluded groups  including migrants, women, discriminated ethnic groups, minorities and indigenous peoples.
There has been important progress in the last year. A number of countries have acted to combat slavery through stronger domestic legislation and greater coordination. More and more businesses are working to ensure their activities do not cause or contribute to contemporary forms of slavery in the workplace and their supply chains.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery 2 December 2013
The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, marks the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (-> resolution 317(IV) of 2 December 1949).
The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, child labour, forced marriage, slavery at sea and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.
These types of slavery are global problems and contravene Art. 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that ‘’…no one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.’’
A number of awareness-raising activities are taking place worldwide, to mark the day.
For more information, please see:
Prepared 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.

RENATE Voice in The Tablet


RENATE Voice in The Tablet, November 2015
RENATE Voice in The Tablet, November 2015

Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE & Eilis Coe, RSC, RENATE Board member, speak about Amnesty International’s decision to support the decriminalisation of prostitution, in a brief article published in the 7th November, 2015 edition of The Tablet, under “NEWS from Britain and Ireland”.
Full text available here:
Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person