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RENATE Member, Sister Klara Marie Stráníková, Gives an Interview to TÝDEN

 

In a recent interview with Mr. Lukáš Seidl, Journalist with  cz, RENATE member, Sister Klara Marie Stráníková, of the Congregation of Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross, talks about her experiences in working with women in prostitution in Prague, the Czech Republic.

Sr. Klara Marie Stráníková, SCSC
Sr. Klara Marie Stráníková, SCSC

It is no surprise to meet a Sister on the streets of Prague, but most people would raise an eyebrow at meeting Sisters walking the streets of the city late at night. Sister Klara Marie Stráníková, of the Congregation of Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross knows the harsh realities of the sex trade, stating “a night on the street will change your life.”
Prayer is an important part of the Sisters’ ministry, “We even have special prayers dedicated to women in prostitution,” says Sister Klara Marie. On an average night in Wenceslas Square, she is joined in prayer by a number of women who are prostituted on the streets of Prague. Discretely dressed, they talk, then join hands and pray together, an unusual sight in the heart of a popular tourist city.
“It is a special atmosphere and many participate in prayer. Often, as Sisters, we stand out and many people approach us and ask to join in prayer,” says Sister Klara Marie, who came to Prague four years ago from a monastery in Kroměříž, to assist women in prostitution.
Today, the Sisters live in a smaller community, and together with several other Sisters, spend every Friday night ministering to those who have no choice but to work in the dark corners of the city. In addition to prayers and the distribution of small religious objects, the Sisters provide contact details where the women can access free legal and social assistance, in addition to testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
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Click here to read more: Interview with Sr. Klara Marie Stráníková, SCSC
Original text in Czech available here: TÝDEN
 
Translated and adapted by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Multi-disciplinary Healthcare Professionals Dedicated to Ending Human Trafficking

 

Believing human trafficking is a public health issue, a number of health-care professionals in the USA have created an organisation named Heal Trafficking, whose vision is “A world healed of trafficking”.
Education, advocacy and networking are the cornerstones of the organisation which believes that effectively confronting commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking requires informed professionals who are equipped to identify, respond and prevent these crimes.
A recent article by Dan Gorenstein, at the Marketplace’s Health Desk, highlights the disbelief of medical staff at an Emergency Room Department of a hospital in the US in October, 2015, when they encountered a patient who presented with a GPS tracking device (an RFID chip) implanted in her body by her trafficker.
Apart from the indignity to the human person, there are serious concerns for maintaining the anonymity of care-workers and those who run shelters and safe-houses, as they work to support victims of human trafficking and abuse.
In recent years, healthcare professionals in the US have accepted they can play a vital part in the fight against trafficking, sometimes unwittingly encountering victims through routine emergency medicine activity.
The mission of Heal Trafficking may very well be one which will travel across borders and continents, in order to address this latest and base development in the profile of trafficking and exploitation of human beings.
 
More information at:
www.healtrafficking.org
www.marketplace.org
 
Compiled by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Ending Human Trafficking by 2030: The Role of Global Partnerships

 

UN Headquarters, New York, 7th April, 2016
At the invitation of the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, Sister Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE, was amongst a distinguished panel of speakers, invited to present at the Conference entitled Ending Human Trafficking by 2030: The Role of Global Partnerships in Eradicating Modern Slavery. The Conference co-organised by the Santa Marta Group, named after Pope Francis’ Vatican residence and founded in 2014, aims to strengthen and coordinate the global response to combatting human trafficking and all forms of modern slavery and to galvanise the coordination necessary to implement Targets 5.2, 8.7 and 16.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Imelda outlined the extent of the work of RENATE and the many Woman Religious with their co-workers, working across 24 European countries to end the slavery of human trafficking.
For more, please see Imelda Poole, IBVM_UN talk_07.04.2016
 

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 http://www.womenlobby.org/Journee-historique-pour-les-droits-des-femmes-la-France-choisit-l-abolition-du
 
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

RENATE President amongst Distinguished Panelists at the UN in NYC

 

Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE, was invited to speak at the UN on “Ending Human Trafficking by 2030: The Role of Global Partnerships in Eradicating Modern Slavery.”
You might like to tune in to the UN website webtv.un.org on April 7th, 2016, from 15.00-18.30 (United States Eastern Standard Time), to follow the event which is going to be streamlined. The European time equivalent is 20:00 – 23:30 GMT (e.g. London, Dublin) and 21:00 – 00:30 GMT+1 (e.g. Amsterdam, Berlin, Bratislava, Prague, Warsaw). It will be an opportunity to hear the President of RENATE and an array of other distinguished panelists invited by the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations. This conference is co-organized by the Santa Marta Group and the full programme involves input from 19 speakers, as per the attached schedule.
The Holy Father Pope Francis will send a personal message to all present. Cardinal Nichols of Westminster, Ms. Mira Sorvino, the UN Goodwill Ambassador against Human Trafficking, UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Mr. Kevin Hyland and the President of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, will keynote the conference. The UN Secretary-General is also invited.
It is a great privilege for RENATE that our President is amongst the array of international and United Nations speakers.
Timing of Speakers’ Program
 
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person

Report from RENATE Training in Hungary

 

Thirty four RENATE members and three staff from a total of 17 countries across Europe, gathered together at the Mater Salvatoris Retreat and Conference Centre, Máriabesnyö, Hungary, to train on Advocacy and Campaigning, with a view to giving a voice to the voiceless.

Welcome Gate to the Mater Salvatoris House in Máriabesnyő, Hungary
Welcome Gate to the Mater Salvatoris House in Máriabesnyő

It was a week of prayer, activities and capacity building, comprising presentations, discussions and active engagement. The week provided participants with an opportunity to share best practise, familiarise ourselves with the local context and get to know one another as a community.
Following the annual meeting of the Working Board, which took place on Monday, the 7th of March, Core Group member of RENATE, Ivonne van de Kar delivered the two-day training programme on Advocacy and Campaigning.
Through discussions and analysis, participants gained an understanding of the definitions of both “Advocacy” and “Campaigning”, the distinctions between both terms and their direct application for specific uses.  Throughout the training, there was an emphasis on the importance of observing detailed structures when advocating and campaigning.
Following an opening analysis of the term “advocacy”, participants shared their understanding of the term and the specific advocacy work undertaken by the various organisations represented at the training.
The following are a synopsis of some of the key considerations shared:

  • Advocacy is really awareness-raising.
  • Lobbying is an ongoing activity…..never-ending!
  • Successful campaigns and advocacy activities, are always tailor-made and the tools and methods used will depend on the context and cultural setting.
  • It is imperative to define terms of engagement and analyse the ways in which one can generate the highest impact.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Communicate goals and limits clearly to donors/benefactors.
  • Accept that you may not realise all your goals at once.
  • Compromise- seek a win: win. Good lobbying requires a degree of consensus.
  • YOU are the expert and engender confidence in yourself by being self-confident. Decision makers are then more likely to be happy to use your knowledge and information.
  • Decision-makers also decide your influencing space.
  • It is very important to have a plan B, an alternative to choose from. Do not simply dump a problem on their desk.
  • Strategizing is very important. To be more efficient, one needs a clear strategy, which in turn prevents one from being distracted by the issues of the day.
  • Always ask yourself “why are we targeting this particular decision maker? Why are we carrying out this activity in the first place? Does it contribute to achieving our objective?”
  • “You have to know who is the Charlie!!”  Who has the power to effect change. Get to know them personally, as ultimately they will help in the implementation and delivery of actions.
  • Timing of Lobbying and Advocacy activities is a very important consideration.
  • Continuously evaluate how you are progressing as you lobby and advocate.
  • Be careful to follow through post-achieving your objective, in monitoring, keeping vigilant etc. just in case your objective is diminished at a later stage. People go their own way and forget to keep an eye on the objective once the law has been changed!
  • Build capacity amongst your people/network/organisation.
  • Celebrate the victories, however small!
  • Take care of your people! People get tired, as lobbying can take a very long time in some subject areas.
  • Never underestimate the “neutral” people…they remain to be convinced and once convinced, can be powerful allies.
  • Always keep an eye on the horizon….be aware that there may be others lobbying for the same purpose as your group, but they
  • may have differing data to yours and such conflict of information, may ultimately undermine the overall work.

 
Remember TS Elliot’s poem, The Four Quartets! Once you arrive at the end of a campaign or lobbying or advocacy initiative, you start all over again and see the initiative from a fresh perspective!
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Click here to read more: Report from RENATE Training in Hungary, 7-12 March 2016
 
Report written by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person