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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.

Help Free those Enslaved in the Building for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar

 

Although still seven years hence, work is well under way for the World Cup in 2022, which will be held in Qatar, the Middle East. Billion dollar building programmes have commenced in order to ensure enjoyment for those attending and participating in the competitions, as well as the success of the venture for the host country, Qatar.
Qatar’s ‘’Guest Worker’’ programme was portrayed as a beacon of possibility, offering work and success. However, in reality, we now find that thousands are in fact trapped in horrific working conditions, forced to work under the desert’s scorching sun with little or no respite; denied adequate food and drinking water; housed in squalid living conditions and prevented from returning to their home countries as their passports have been confiscated.
Sources:
The Guardian: Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed
Human Rights WatchBuilding a Better World Cup
BloombergAt a Qatar Project Overseen by Americans, Workers Die Almost Daily
The Guardian: Qatar accused of dragging its feet over treatment of migrant workers
Reuters: Qatar risks losing World Cup without job reform
 
Avaaz.org is a global campaigning network which works to ensure the views and values of the world’s people, shape global decision making and is currently inviting people to sign their petition to the Emir of Qatar, the Secretary General of Qatar 2022 & the CEO of CH2M Hill (the public face of World Cup construction, managing a major part of Qatar 2022), to instate basic human rights and safety measures for its building programme and support workers.
By simply adding our names to the petition we can make a difference and help free these workers from a form of modern day slavery. In doing so, we not only honour RENATE’s commitment to campaign against slavery and exploitation at world sports events, we bear witness to Pope Francis’ message that ‘’…Every person, and all people, are equal and must be accorded the same freedom and the same dignity.’’ (Declaration on International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2nd December 2014).
 
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

UN Commission on the Status of Women Conference, 9th – 20th March 2015

 

Twenty years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, at the Fourth World Conference of Women in 1995, the U N Commission on the Status of Women has as its central theme at this year’s Conference ‘’Implementing the Beijing Platform for action.’’
The Conference will inform and facilitate discussions on the current challenges that affect the implementation of the Declaration, the achievement of gender equality, the empowerment of women and much, much more over the twelve days, including trafficking and exploitation.
Of particular interest will be the seminars and workshops on Humanitarian Actions; Ending Violence against Women and due concerns for the trafficking of women and girls as ‘’weapons of war’’ in war-torn Syria & Iraq.
For full information and Conference details, please log on to CSW59/Beijing+20 (2015)

International Collaborative Efforts to Promote the Non-Punishment Principle

 

The Council of Europe and the Organisation for Social Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), held a joint conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, entitled ”Not For Sale- Joining Forces against Trafficking in Human Beings’’, 17 – 18 February 2014.
The Conference identified that promoting the Non-Punishment Principle is one of the important areas to facilitate enhanced co-operation between both the Council of Europe and the OSCE. The Non-Punishment Principle holds that victims of human trafficking should not be punished for unlawful activities they were forced to commit by their exploiters.
Eight months later in October, the Council of Europe and the OSCE launched a joint two-day workshop in Strasbourg, France, which brought together judges and prosecutors to discuss the key challenges in supporting the legal rights of human trafficking victims. A fundamental premise was the implementation of the Non-Punishment Principle by all law enforcement agencies, from the police officer right through to the highest court in the land.
‘’Upholding the Non-Punishment Principle is a key step to increasing the number of successful prosecutions in the OSCE region as it encourages victims of trafficking to testify in court by ensuring that they will not also be imprisoned or deported’’, stated Ambassador Madina Jarbussynova, OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.
Despite the agreement earlier in the year on promoting the Non-Punishment Principle, legal experts, judges, lawyers, prosecutors and even a judge from the European Court for Human Rights, heard that it was not universally implemented throughout the region. Petya Nesterova, Executive Secretary of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, said that ‘’Despite the existence of binding, legal provisions, victims of trafficking are still imprisoned or deported. This contravenes the State’s obligation to protect and assist victims and contributes to the impunity of traffickers.’’
Building upon the need to standardise best practice when attending to human trafficking cases, before Christmas the OSCE provided a training seminar for judges from regional courts, in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan.
Thus a review of the past year indicates a concerted effort from all parties, funded and supported by the OSCE, the United States embassy in Kazakhstan, the Civil Service Academy and the Supreme Court, to ensure extensive training in the implementation of the Non-Punishment Principle, with the explicit hope that victims of human trafficking will find the courage to break free, confident that they will not be punished.
Training of judges continues during 2015, with a focus on best legislative and judicial practices to combat human trafficking. National and international experts play their part in the training, to improve understandings and enhance co-operation between law enforcement, judicial authorities and civil society.
It is encouraging to see formal attention to training measures which will improve professional skills in both judicial and administrative areas which will go a long way towards heling combat human trafficking.
It is early days yet, but clearly significant plans are being made for the future and the implementation of best practice in order to break the chains that bind victims of human trafficking.
 
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

Behind Closed Doors: the dark side to Domestic Servitude

 

On Friday, 13th February, WalkFree.org posted the good news outcome of justice being served to Erwiana, a domestic worker in Hong Kong, who was mistreated and exploited by her employers.
While we celebrate the positive outcome for Erwiana, we remember the countless others who are at risk in similar situations of exploitation and ill treatment. Together we can make a difference as we shine a light into the darkness behind those closed doors.
Read more here: Help End Modern Slavery in Hong Kong

Première of Bakhita’s Prayer in London, a documentary film by Ten Ten

 

Bakhita's Prayer
Bakhita’s Prayer

The Ten Ten Theatre at Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden, London, premièred the documentary film Bakhita’s Prayer on the 8th of February 2015, in honour of Saint Bakhita and to draw attention to the first International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking.
Bakhita’s Prayer is a twenty six minute documentary film which follows a group of nineteen year old students from Sacred Heart School in Hammersmith, West London, who are on a quest to understand the issue of Modern Slavery and what they can do to stop it.
The students are taken on a journey which includes watching the powerful TenTen play This is my Body; meeting Cardinal Vincent Nichols, to discuss The Bakhita Initiative; deepening an understanding of modern slavery with Sr. Patricia Mulhall, representative of TRAC and member of RENATE; talking to a survivor of trafficking in the UK and learning about the life and spirituality of Saint Josephine Bakhita.
A two minute preview of the film, which is intended for use with schools and Parishes is available at the Ten Ten Theatre website: Bakhita’s Prayer.
Activate the Blog Posts beneath the film clip, for first-hand insight into the students’ understandings and responses to the film.
 
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person
 

Light Dispelling the Darkness of Human Trafficking

 

The First International Day of Prayer & Awareness against Trafficking,

8th February 2015

Individuals, friends, families and communities were united in prayer on the 8th of February, in response to Pope Francis’ invitation to the world, to honour the first international Day of Awareness and Prayer against Trafficking, on the feast of Saint Josephine Bakhita.
Here are samples of events that took place, throughout the RENATE Network.
In Albania, Bishop Frendo, OP presided over a very special Liturgy which was prepared in honour of St. Bakhita. The theme of ‘’Light Dispelling the Darkness of Trafficking’’ communicated a very hopeful message to all who attended. Prayer cards were distributed and people joined in prayer together. After the ceremony, there were conversations about how to be more proactive in working against human trafficking.
Press releases with resources have been circulated in countries worldwide, by numerous organisations working to combat human trafficking.
These resources, inter-faith prayer services, prayers, songs and intercessions are readily accessible to all who wish to avail of them, on the public domain of the RENATE website: Resources in Various Languages.
In the UK, members of RENATE marked the day by submitting writing on the life and story of Saint Bakhita that featured in parish newsletters. Prayer cards for the victims of human trafficking were distributed at Churches. Silent vigils were observed and prayer groups convened.
Morning Mass, broadcast from Brentwood Cathedral gave special mention to the day in which Fr. Martin Boland gave his homily on Bakhita’s life: Sunday Worship in Brentwood Cathedral, 8th February 2015 (the text  is available on screen, beneath the recording).
Caritas Slovakia organised a prayer service on the occasion of the First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking.This prayer service took place at the Jesuit Church in Bratislava on Sunday, 8th February 2015.
Caritas Slovakia has been helping the victims of human trafficking for seven years and took this opportunity to join the world in prayer for more than 21 million women, men and children who suffer from modern slavery.
The prayer service, broadcast live on the national radio, was accompanied by the songs of Taize, performed by the professional church choir Chorus Salvatoris. Initial introductory words and opening prayers were followed by Psalms and stories of trafficked Slovak victims. Candles of hope were placed on each continent of the world map symbolizing the global extent of human trafficking. Then intercession prayers were read for particular and all victims, but also for traffickers, pimps, government and church representatives as well as for all of us to be able to face the globalisation of indifference with globalisation of solidarity. All participants then lit candles for freedom and dignity. Images of St. Josephine Bakhita printed on a prayer card, were distributed to all participants.
Together with the Dutch Conference of Religious, the SRTV in the Netherlands, devised inter-faith prayer services, comprising prayers, hymns and intercessions to share with the churches and congregations throughout the Netherlands and also Belgium. The national broadcasting station also featured these services, in the Netherlands.
In Romania, the opportunity was taken on the 1st of February, at the official opening day for the Year of Consecrated Life, to share fliers, prayer cards and information in preparation for the First International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Trafficking, with representatives from all the religious orders present at the official opening. These were then distributed at the parish Masses or prayer services  dedicated to the victims of human trafficking in and from Romania.
The award winning Ten Ten Theatre Company in London, premièred a specially commissioned film of the Saint Bakhita story and human trafficking, which was screened in London on her feast day, 8th February. The twenty-six minute documentary film follows a group of nineteen year old students from Sacred Heart School in Hammersmith, West London, who are on a quest to understand the issue of modern slavery and what they can do to stop it. A two minute preview of the film is available on the Ten Ten Theatre website: Bakhita’s Prayer.
The Ten Ten Theatre Company have worked with The Medaille Trust as well as TRAC UK for the past eighteen months, in the making of this documentary film. Previously, the theatre group produced a one-woman play on human trafficking entitled, This is my Body, written by Martin O’Brien, founding member of the Company.
The Fundación Amaranta in Majorca, Spain, recorded the testimonies of the women they are supporting to recover from trafficking. Through their testimony, their voices will be heard and no-one can turn a deaf ear to their stories.
There are many, many more special events which have taken place and we will feature according as people share their news.
 

Enjoy the photo gallery shared with RENATE!

phot0 gallery world day of prayer

 
Anne Kelleher
RENATE Communications Person

Opening of the Year of Concerated Life in Bucharest, Romania

 

1st of February 2015 was for the Archdiocese of Bucharest the official opening day for the Year of Consecrated Life. At the meeting were present representatives from religious orders in Bucharest and surroundings. It was a good opportunity to share information in preparation for the The First International Day of Prayer against Trafficking so all congregations received flyers with a message and a short prayer to St. Bakhita to distribute in the parishes for the Mass or prayer services dedicated to victims of human trafficking in/from Romania.
Adina CJ, Romania

Religious from the Archdiocese of Bucharest, 1st February 2015
Religious from the Archdiocese of Bucharest, 1st February 2015

Sr. Adina CJ presents about Human Trafficking, 1st February 2015
Sr. Adina CJ presents about Human Trafficking, 1st February 2015

 

Report from the Press Conference in Vatican, 2nd – 4th February 2015

 

Sr. Imelda Poole IBVM, President of RENATE, was invited by UISG (International Union of Superiors General) to be present and participate in the press release at the Vatican for the worldwide day of prayer against trafficking, the Feast of St. Bakhita. She spoke on behalf of RENATE and also about her work in Albania, which was named Talitha Kum Branch in the official reporting. Her interviews for the Vatican Radio and TV can be found here: www.radiovaticana.va (available as ”Presentation on the Day Against Human Trafficking”).
 
Links to the official reports:
Light a lamp to dissipate the darkness of human trafficking
CNA_EWTN News by Elise Harris