“Ten years of implementation of the Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings: impact and challenges ahead.” Marie Hélène Halligon, olcgs, RENATE Core Group member.



At Nicolas le Coz' right hand, Mrs. Martin, current French member of GRETA.
At Nicolas le Coz’ right hand, Mrs. Martin, current French member of GRETA.

The conference, organized during the Croatian Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, took place on 22 May 2018 at the “Palais de l’Europe” in Strasbourg, France. It brought together political leaders, anti-trafficking experts, civil society activists, as well as representatives of academia and business.
The conference examined the impact of the Council of Europe Anti-Trafficking Convention on State Parties’ law, policy and practice, and in particular on improving the situation and rights of victims of trafficking. An emphasis has been placed on the human rights-based and victim-centred approach by the Convention and the positive obligations of States to prevent trafficking, protect victims, prosecute traffickers and engage in international co-operation in order to achieve the purposes of the Convention.
At the same time, this was an occasion to analyze remaining gaps in the implementation of the Convention together with new challenges and innovative ways to address them. The conference emphasized the importance of having a monitoring mechanism which measures progress and will serve as a platform for promoting the Convention beyond Europe.
With 230 people from all over Europe, it was an opportunity to meet  people we already work with as well as new ones from Ireland, Greece. We also had the opportunity to listen to survivors Maria from Spain, (right) and Fareeda (a Yazidi woman).
At the end of the conference, a few of us were honored to attend a special ceremony, when Nicolas le Coz (former President of GRETA) received a special honour and diploma for his anti-trafficking work during his years with GRETA.
Figure 1L. to R. Melissa Charbonnel (assistant); Petya Nestorova (Exec. Secretariate of the Convention); Snežana Samardžić-Marković (Exec. Director of Democracy, CoE); Helga Gayer, GRETA.

RENATE friend and associate, Sr. Bibiana Ovwigho (COSUDOW) shares about her work in anti-trafficking awareness-raising, prevention and support to survivors.



Sr. Bibiana (left) and her colleagues. Photo courtesy of sarah Haaij.
Sr. Bibiana (left) and her colleagues. Photo courtesy of sarah Haaij.

In a newspaper article published 25 May 2018 by the Dutch daily newspaper Trouw (European Newspaper Award winner 2012), Sr. Bibiana Ovwigho shares about the ongoing need for vigilance and care in anti-trafficking work in Nigeria, as girls continue to fall victim to the prospect of thinking there is a better life in Europe than at home.
With the title Benin City is empty: why the trafficking of women from Africa to Europe cannot be stopped, Sr. Bibiana talks about her work in Benin city and the shelter that is almost always full as girls receive support to break free of the cycle of trafficking and the sex trade.
The personal stories of several girls informs the newspaper article, who tell of harrowing experiences on the migratory routes from Libya and on the streets in Italy. But thanks to the shelter, the girls are quick to emphasise the value of the vocational training available as a concrete support which helps them find meaningful employment and ultimately keep them off the streets.
Following the very public commitment of the governor of Edo State last August, to actively combat human trafficking, Sr. Bibiana is hopeful that eventually young girls will have the possibilities to make a life for themselves at home in Nigeria.
Full article in Dutch, available at:
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) 2018, published.


Secretary of State, Mr. Michael R. Pompeo unveiled the 2018 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, 28 June, 2018, at the U.S. Department of State and was joined by Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump. 
As required by the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the TIP Report assesses government efforts around the world to combat human trafficking and highlights strategies to address this crime and protect the victims. This year’s report, the 18th instalment, includes narratives for 187 countries and territories, including the United States. 
The report is available at:
One European country stands out in particular for having been demoted-Ireland- was downgraded to Tier 2, for insufficient action on modern slavery. The Tier 2 ranking places Ireland on a par with Indonesia and India because of what it describes as the government’s failure to adequately protect victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation and labour abuse, as well as failure to convict traffickers, despite the introduction of legislation in recent years. Of particular criticism was reference to permitting human slavery to flourish in the fishing industry, a sector where ‘’…human rights are under constant attack …by unscrupulous and greedy employers,’’ according to the International Transport Worker’s Federation.   
During the ceremony, Secretary Pompeo and Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, who has taken a leadership role in highlighting human trafficking as a priority for this Administration, honoured the 2018 TIP Report Heroes, men and women from around the globe whose tireless efforts have made a lasting impact on the fight against modern slavery. Following the ceremony, many of the Heroes now travel to cities across the United States to engage with the American people through an International Visitor Leadership Program. 
In launching the report, US Secretary of State, Mr. Michael Pompeo, stated:
‘’ This year’s report focuses on effective ways local communities can address human trafficking proactively and on how national governments can support and empower them.  Local communities are the most affected by this abhorrent crime and are also the first in line of defence against human trafficking.
By engaging and training law enforcement, religious leaders, teachers, tribal elders, business executives and communities, we become more vigilant and learn to identify and address vulnerabilities swiftly. Proactive community-driven measures strengthen our ability to protect our most vulnerable and weaken a criminal’s ability to infiltrate, recruit and exploit.
I have experienced first-hand that individuals closest to a problem are often the best resource to solving it, which is why the Department prioritises equipping and empowering front-line civil society leaders.
Modern slavery has no place in the world and I intend to ensure through diplomatic engagement and increased action, that the United States government’s leadership in combating this global threat is sustained in the years to come.’’
For a thorough analysis of the TIP 2018 report, please see the latest edition of Stop Trafficking, prepared by Jean Schafer, SDS, available at:
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

Human Trafficking awareness-raising initiative – APT Ireland.



Raising awareness about Human Trafficking is a priority for RENATE members at APT Ireland (Act to Prevent Trafficking), who are pleased to announce the staging of the internationally acclaimed DIABLO , a hard-hitting play about Human Trafficking and how it occurs in ‘’plain sight.’’
The play has a small cast of 5 actors and is written by Patricia Downey, Artistic Director for Belfast based Spanner in the Works Theatre Company, which is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
The play will be performed at the C Venues Edinburgh Fringe Festival on 1-13 August, 2018, followed by a performance in Munich, Germany on 19 September (venue to be advised). DIABLO will be performed in Ireland on both 25 and 26 September- venues to be advised.
Speaking about the play’s challenging subject matter, playwright Patricia Downey commented: “Human trafficking is a fast growing criminal enterprise due to the fact it is relatively low risk but with a high profit potential. Sadly, criminal organisations are increasingly attracted to human trafficking because, unlike drugs, humans can be sold repeatedly. Diablo deals with the contentious matter of human trafficking that may go unnoticed right here in Northern Ireland. We might not be aware of it or like to acknowledge it, but this form of human exploitation is happening right here on our doorstep and I hope this play serves to increase awareness and, in turn, save lives.’’
Please see for updates on confirmed venues.
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

Training on Trafficking in human beings and modern slavery, in Youth Centre, Kuçovë, Albania.



On the 21st of June last, as part of its continued commitment to ensure awareness-raising and prevention of human trafficking, Mary Ward Loreto Albania conducted an Anti-Trafficking training seminar at the Kuçova Youth Centre. The 26 young people who participated in this training were informed about the phenomenon of trafficking and modern slavery.
There was a lot of animated interaction during the training and it was encouraging to see how interested the young people were in the topic as they enthusiastically engaged in the exercises.
At the end of a very positive seminar, the students invited the team to visit again and to give more training in the future. Such openness to learning and to being empowered to protect oneself, illustrates the positive impact and value of awareness training and personal interaction with youth, who are most vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation.
More at:   and also on Facebook:


The last 10 years of Human Trafficking.


Courtesy Borgen
Courtesy Borgen

The global issue of human trafficking can leave people feeling defeated. The numbers may seem heavy, but knowledge of them may lead to an increase in awareness rather than an increase in crime. In 2008, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) described knowledge of human trafficking as the footsteps of a monster, comparing a lack of information to an unknown beast. Without such information, only guesses can be made as to the scope of the problem or what can be done. After looking over the last 10 years of human trafficking research, the world is finally starting to understand the shape of this monster and how to fight it.
More at:
Adapted by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

Council of Europe: Young students working on Trafficking of Human Beings with GRETA.



On 18 October 2017, several classes from an Alsatian college participated in an event organized by the Council of Europe to raise awareness about the fight against trafficking and exploitation.
During the academic year, they worked with other to discover more about the existence of Human Trafficking and its different forms. On 19 June 2018, these students presented the fruit of their work to the Secretary of GRETA and its assistants, as well as the Associations that were present during the sensitization (SOS-Caritas France, NDC of the Good Shepherd, Association Themis …). Each small team of 2 or 3 students explained the work involved and the results -displays, 3D realization, filmed interviews and even animated film, which you can quickly see in the video above. 
Des jeunes au Conseil de l’Europe.

We then watched the official presentation of the Council of Europe, after which the students toured the building and passed through the hemicycle, which is always impressive! There followed a question and answer session with the Associations and distribution of “awards” to all participants.
We obviously congratulated the young people and their teachers, who committed themselves and also enlisted other disciplines in this work. We also invited them to be “contagious” and to share with their friends what they have learned, to be ambassadors capable of allowing other young people to see clearly and not be seduced by unhealthy speeches.
We would like to reach more people and with Petya Nestorova (Executive Secretary of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings) have noted the difficulty of mobilizing on the subject of the Treaty, to which an attitude of denial is common.
Our work is a long struggle but we are sure of the support of all people of good will who, with us, want to put an end to this scourge!
“… to think about the market for women, the trafficking, the exploitation that we see, and also the market that we do not see, the one that is done and not seen …”
Pope Francis, Homily in St Marthe 15/06/2018
Marie Hélène Halligon, OLCGS

RENATE member and Human Trafficking Awareness-raising opportunities at the Granada Festival of the South and also at Togo.


RENATE member Maria Luis Puglisi and her colleagues took the opportunity at the Granada festival of the south, which is celebrated from 3 to 10 June, by presenting a day-long  exhibition to raise awareness about Human Trafficking and Exploitation.
They set up an information stand and met with countless of people over the week, thereby heightening awareness about the realities of violence towards women as well as sharing information about their work against human trafficking.
Maria Luisa and her colleagues also presented the exhibition of their work in Togo, where they also screened a documentary film about Human Trafficking ‘’Trata di Evitarla.’’
It was a good opportunity to bring home the reality of being actively engaged as a citizen.
More at Fundación de Solidaridad Amaranta
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

Child Trafficking for Labour in the Congo Cobalt mines.


The Good Shepherd International Foundation produced the film ‘Maisha: A New Life Outside the Mines’ documenting the living conditions of the artisanal mining community in Kolwezi and the impact that this community development project is having.
The film is currently available online and was shown at more than 10 film festivals and screenings throughout the world. It was awarded numerous honours, including Best Documentary Short Film at the 12th Human Rights Film Festival of Barcelona and  Best Ethnographic Film at the Vaasa Festival 2016.
Every day should be considered a Children’s Rights Day.