Imelda Poole, IBVM, RENATE President, awarded MBE in recognition of her outstanding service in combatting human trafficking and modern slavery.


Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE
Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE

On Saturday 9 June 2018,  Imelda Poole, IBVM, President of RENATE, was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday Honours list 2018, for her achievements and services to end Modern Slavery.
On the announcement of the award, the British Ambassador to the Holy See, Ms. Sally Axworthy, said: ‘’I am delighted to learn that Sr. Imelda Poole has been awarded this honour be Her Majesty the Queen. It is well-deserved recognition of Sr. Imelda’s outstanding service in combatting human trafficking and modern slavery, through the European Religious sisters’ anti-trafficking network RENATE which she leads, and through Talith Kum, the Religious sisters’ worldwide anti-trafficking network. Sister Imelda is a key ally in Her Majesty’s government’s campaign to eradicate modern slavery. It is wonderful to see such a distinguished friend of this Embassy honoured in this way.’’
On learning of her award, Sister Imelda said:’’ This is an honour which I accept on behalf of the Female Religious and co-workers who are contributing, through the mission of many international networks such as RENATE, to combating modern day slavery and on behalf of the dedicated staff of Mary Ward Loreto in Albania who are passionate in this same cause. May this award expose even further the terrible crime of human trafficking which, as Pope Francis has declared, is a crime against humanity itself.’’
Read more about SR. Imelda Poole in the case study written by HM Ambassador Sally Axworthy: to mark International Women’s Day 2017.
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

Stop Trafficking!


The June 2018 issue of Stop Trafficking! (Vol. 16, No. 06) is available at the following link: To access, click on the ‘photo’ of the first page or click the ‘current issue’ link. 
This issue highlights the trauma suffered by victims of sexual exploitation and the issues involved in their treatment and healing.
Congratulations and sincere thanks to Jean Schafer, for doing all the research behind such valuable content.
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

March of Survivors – “Le Nid” Movement, Strasbourg – May/June 2018. Report from Marie Hélène Halligon, OLCGS.


The wonderful initiative March of Survivors, was organized by Le Nid Movement, on the occasion of this special commemorative year: slavery has been abolished 170 years ago! It is always an event which stirs ones emotions at the deepest level.
Before this March of Survivors took place, an Exhibition, « L’Envol » (meaning when several birds are taking flight together) was organized in collaboration with « Imagora. » The exhibition lasted several weeks, shown on the walls of the Department Hall in Strasbourg, where we attended the Conference given by Grégoire Théry (CAP International) on Monday, 4 June, to celebrate their fantastic effort.
Our Good Shepherd community was able to support the event at its beginning… and throughout!
On the 25 May, we waited in front of the Bas-Rhin Department Hall for the official start of this march. Friends, walkers and representatives of the authorities were present before the hour to welcome the brave: 10 steps, 300 kilometers to “make visible these invisible women” and raise awareness about every stage of prostitution and human trafficking.
With the help of Facebook, we accompanied them on the journey as you can see on the poster, but we could not feel the fatigue, the solidarity, the good atmosphere, the resources, the search for places to sleep (at hostels, at Sisters’ convents …) the effort to leave together each morning, the walkers or the young people met and sharing. A walk that “healed” one of the survivors from the desert walk she had taken to Libya, without shoes, water or food, in a hostile environment and with sometimes hostile companions …
Grégoire Théry painted the picture of the aberrations of a legislation that fights against the Trafficking in Human Beings, but does not include prostitution, through practical “arrangements” to continue to satisfy the demand for sexual services. Several countries – including France – have abolitionist legislation, but are slow to implement.
Rozen and her friends are considering a European march, and why not name it ‘’World Survivors’’…more to follow!
Please find below the article in French language:
La marche des survivantes – Mouvement du Nid, Strasbourg – Mai/juin 2018

RENATE members to co-present Human Trafficking information seminar at the World Meeting of Families, 21-26 August, 2018.


RENATE members who are also members of MECPATHS Ireland (Mercy Efforts to Counter Prostitution and Trafficking in Hospitality Sector) and APT Ireland (Act to prevent Trafficking),  have secured a 90 minute time-period in which they will co-present information about Human Trafficking.
The work shop entitled ‘’An open wound on the body of contemporary society,’’ (Pope Francis), will take a look at how Human Trafficking pervades contemporary society and the global and family responses towards healing.
Mr. Kevin Hyland, OBE, outgoing UK Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner will be the keynote speaker and afterwards will share the panel of guest speakers comprising Mia de Faoite, a survivor; Sr. Mary Ryan, rsm, (APT, MECPATHS and RENATE); Sr. Mairin McDonagh, rjm, (APT and RENATE) and JP O’ Sullivan (MECPATHS).

  • Held every three years, this major international event – WMOF – presents a wonderful opportunity to inform and raise awareness about Human Trafficking and how we can all play our part in bringing an end to this crime against humanity. For more information on the World Meeting of Families and to reserve tickets etc.
  • MECPATHS collaborates with the hospitality sector in Ireland, to raise awareness about child sex-trafficking and to empower hotel management and staff to help prevent this crime. More information at:

Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

Report from Polish representative on the EU Civil Society Platform against Trafficking in Human Beings. Brussels, 28-29 May 2018.



Fiive RENATE members participating on behalf of their respective Country organisations- L to R- Poland, Slovakia,Malta, Albania, Lithuania.
Five RENATE members participating on behalf of their respective Country organisations- L to R- Poland, Slovakia,Malta, Albania, Lithuania.

The EU Civil Society Platform against Trafficking in Human Beings met for two working days in Brussels, on 28-29 May 2018. Approximately one hundred organisations attended, of which three were newly welcomed in the absence of equivalent number. The newcomers originate from Denmark, Estonia and Malta.
Prior to the meeting all participants received a list of selected documents/statements/outcomes, which directly relate to trafficking in human beings across fields in the internal and external dimension of diverse EU policies.
Ms Myria Vassiliadou, EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, welcomed the participants, gave an overview of the meeting and acknowledged the important guest speakers related to the workshops planned for the second day.  Ms. Vassiliadou reminded us that we were there to discuss with participants of the Platform, rather than representatives of the organisations. The same person coming to the meeting helps to build up  knowledge, memory, etc.
A further update by the European Commission followed.
Ms. Valeria Galanti, Policy Officer, presented an update on the legal framework and implementation of EU Policy towards building coordination and coherence with EU Agencies. The EU Platform Website and its Member Only Section, continue to be the best sources of documents shared by the Commission as well as Platform’ Participants.
Ms. Vassiliadou read the address of the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos.
The Special Adviser to the President of the European Commission, Joëlle Milquet joined us for the afternoon sessions and explored with us the topic  of compensation for victims of crime.
Ambassador Mara Marinaki, Principal Adviser on Gender and on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325/WPS, European External Action Services and Fabienne van den Eede, Deputy Head of Unit DG DEVCO also joined us for the afternoon sessions and shared their expertise.
 Ambassador Marinaki spoke about the Istanbul convention, the first instrument of a wide scale which addresses the whole „family” of European laws and requires political commitment. She underlined the importance of investment in education and its transformative power.
Ms. van den Eede presented the EU-UN Gender Spotlight Initiative which was launched on 20 September 2017. The Initiative is so named as it focuses attention on this issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It foresees data collection on regional thematic areas such as : femicide in Latin America; human trafficking in Asia; SGBV, harmful practices – SRHR in Africa, domestic violence in the Pacific and family violence in the Caribbean.
Participants of the Platform were invited to give their counsel on the collection of data and any contribution they could make towards success of this Initiative, to eliminate violence against women and girls.  
The second day of the meeting began with a plenary session which was an introduction to the three parallel workshops, concentrating on the priorities and and key actions to step up the EU action (linked to the EU priorities and actions). All participants were given a choice of workshops by registering in advance of the meeting.
Further work on day two followed in groups. The results of the working groups were presented at the final plenary session.
WORKSHOP 1, Priority A:  Stepping up the fight against organised criminal networks by whatever means including disrupting the business model and untangling the trafficking chain.
Conceptualising the EU-wide awareness-raising campaign on trafficking in human beings, targeting users, consumers, and vulnerable groups and high-risk sectors.
WORKSHOP 2, Priority B:  Provide better access to and realise the rights for victims of trafficking.
Focus on access to compensation and referral mechanisms at national and transnational level to realize the rights of victims.
WORKSHOP 3, Priority C:  Intensify a coordinated and consolidated response, both within and outside the EU.
Focus on enhanced joint efforts to address the root causes of vulnerabilities and the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative – eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.
This EU Civil Society Platform meeting was a good opportunity to learn, share and network with others. There were five RENATE members present, participating on behalf of their home country organisations from Poland, Slovakia, Malta, Albania and Lithuania (photo: from left to right).
Text and photos: Aneta Grabowska.

RENATE news circulates amongst the network of Religious in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Ensuring RENATE is known and active in Croatia, Sr. Viktorija Šimić took the opportunity to share the most recent RENATE E-Bulletin amongst her networks there.
Sr. Viktorija translated the E-Bulletin into Croatian before forwarding it to the President of the Croatian Religious Conference, who will ensure it  features on their website. Additionally, the E-Bulletin will be circulated amongst all the Religious Provincials (male and female) in Croatia.
Sr. Viktorija also shared the E-Bulletin with the secretary of the Religious Conferences in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in response to their request for recurring information.
The important and vital ministry of awareness-raising and sharing information  through weekly parish visits continues for Sr. Viktorija, as she gives talks and leads the Blessed Sacramental adoration in various parishes, on both Wednesdays and Fridays.
May Viktorija enjoy every blessing in her faithful ministry.
Adapted by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.  

A wonderful success story from RENATE's Greek members:


Two Years! Join us in celebrating two years of serving trafficked and exploited women in Greece, and the many miracles in between!
Read more below.
Last month we celebrated two years of operation at Damaris!
We held a reception party on the new rooftop garden of our safe house (pictured above). It was a beautiful evening celebrating all of the blessings of the last two years since first opening our doors in April 2016. We gathered with many pastors and partners that have been praying and supporting the organization from the beginning. Damaris House is a seven year prayer and dream that came true.
As we look back on the last two years, we reflect on a season of ministry scattered with growth, miracles, and blessings. We have helped thirteen girls from many nations to be rescued, rehabilitated, and restored. Our girls have come from Greece, Romania, Dominican Republic, Iraq, and many countries of Africa – we are an international family! Our family continues to grow, as we have welcomed four babies born with us and one more due next month!
In these years, God has shaped our ministry as the injustices around us continue to grow. Nearly all of the trafficked women in our house have also come to Greece as refugees, through Turkey to the Greek islands of Lesvos and Chios. We are continuing to grow partnerships with Christian initiatives on the islands to help moved trafficked women out of refugee camps and into our program at Damaris. When new women come to our house, they not only receive a safe place to rest and raise their family, but also access to education and recovery through our day program. Our day program will teach women necessary skills for their healing, such as anger management, self-esteem, parenting, budgeting, healthcare, healthy relationships, the Greek language, and the 12 Steps Recovery Program.
At Damaris, we are also passionate about introducing our participants to the radical love of Christ through the Gospel. We hold an optional Bible study for the women each week and are seeing spiritual growth in the women’s lives. Teams from the States also join us in this mission, as they will come for our Celebration Week. During this week, the teams teach the women a new project and share their own testimonies – a time that has proven to be a powerful for our ladies to hear how God works in other women’s lives!
We want to model a lifestyle of prayer for the ladies in the program, so prayer is at the core of all we do. We thank the Lord so much for your prayer and support, we could not do this without you! As we look ahead into the next year of operation, we are faithfully praying for God to provide the funds to purchase second stage housing. Currently, our house has five rooms and one emergency room. This year we hope to purchase two additional apartments for more independent participants that have transitioned out of Phase 1 and into Phase 2. We are also praying for the funds to start a business to employ the women. Please pray that the Lord will continue to miraculously provide for the ministry and we will be able to grow in these avenues we are pursuing!
So, here’s to the many blessings of the last 2 years, and to 22 more years to come!
Dina Petrou
Director of CHD

Join the party!
You can give the gift of opportunity and empowerment for the women in our program! Help us reach our goals for this year by donating to our second stage housing program here.

Up to 11 years in prison for the "Authentic sisters", Nigerian pimps, in France.



© AFP/Archives / Par Juliette MONTESSE | Proxénétisme nigérian et sorcellerie: les "Authentic sisters" jugées à Paris
© AFP/Archives / Par Juliette MONTESSE | Proxénétisme nigérian et sorcellerie: les “Authentic sisters” jugées à Paris

An organization of “great international delinquency”, victims trapped in a “cycle of misfortune”: up to eleven years in prison were pronounced Wednesday in Paris at the trial of a vast network of Nigerian women , the “Authentic sisters.”
“Should we make an example in this case? Yes, of course,” said the President of the Criminal Court, Isabelle Prévost-Desprez, denouncing facts “of exceptional gravity”, “which violate the fundamental principles of the Republic.”
The court sentenced fifteen of the sixteen defendants, including ten “madames” pimps, for aggravated procuring and trafficking in human beings.
Most Nigerians were found guilty of illegally bringing young Nigerian girls to France and organizing their forced prostitution.
Built on the proven model of other Nigerian networks, that of the “Authentic sisters”, named after a club of “madames” installed in the Paris region, was part of the “international organized crime”, backed by “networks based on the corruption in Nigeria, Libya, France “, insisted the president.
The investigators counted at least 50 victims between 2013 and 2016 alone. Many came from Benin City, the Nigerian capital of human trafficking, or the poor countryside. They were most often sold by their families to recruiters at home in Nigeria, who in turn had connections with “madames” in France.
Against the organization of their smuggling in Europe with the help of smugglers and false documents – by plane or, it was cheaper, by the perilous Libyan route – these “madames” and recruiters asked the girls to pay them back a “debt”, often about 50,000 euros, through prostitution.
Before the departure, the victims were terrorized during a frightful ritual practiced by a sorcerer, the “juju” – a “contract of flesh and blood”, the prosecutor had described. The victim and her family pledged to repay the “debt” and not to denounce the pimps.
In France, “prisoners of their second mother”, the “madame”, young women found themselves “devoid of resources, the possibility of running away and escaping the cycle of misfortune”, according to Ms. Prévost-Desprez.
– “New slavery” –
Most of the defendants have themselves been sent to France by comparable networks. But, “far from wanting to prevent their compatriots this fate”, these “madames” instead preferred to “perpetuate a perfectly lucrative curse”, establishing “de facto a new slavery” in a “total absence of empathy for their victims “, continued the President of the court.
Regarded as the head of the “Authentic sisters”, Happy Iyenoma, aka “Mama Alicia”, was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and 200,000 euros fine, and arrested at the hearing. Her husband was also arrested.
Nine of the ten other “madames” judged by her side were sentenced to between two and ten years’ imprisonment, some of whom were heavily fined, and three were also arrested in the courtroom. One was released.
Four other men, involved to varying degrees in this network, were sentenced to between two and eleven years in prison.
Ten defendants, including Ms. Iyenoma, were permanently banned from staying in France. “Many people are struggling to stay” in France, “and do so without going through fraudulent networks even if they are in desperate human situations.” It is also in the name of all those “that have been pronounced these prohibitions, assailed the president.
Several young women have testified at the hearing of the hell of these networks: rapes, forced abortions, threats on their families …
Placed under silence during the investigation, two of the “mamas” said “pray” that these victims “do not come” in court. “Otherwise,” said one of them, “we will have nothing more to say”.           
By Juliette MONTESSE, AFP.

Prayers for RENATE members on new Missions.


RENATE members regularly embark on new journeys and new missions, in their work to support victims of human trafficking and exploitation, raise awareness and trying to bring an end to human trafficking and exploitation.
One of our members is currently progressing a new mission in Vietnam and gradually making progress, one step at a time.
Your prayers for her and her colleagues, would be greatly appreciated, as they continue to work together with local communities in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation.
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

E-Bulletin from RENATE, 23 May 2018.


Reminder re. availability of RENATE Funding for Projects.
One of the major objectives of RENATE is to support the members in their daily work and to build capacity for this task. To achieve this objective RENATE has a Fund which members can request.
To avail of this fund the applicant must comply with RENATE’s Criteria and the Donor’s Guidelines. Up to ten applications will be considered each year. Over this number will be considered in the following financial year.
It is envisaged that the Fund be used for:
Language course

  • Short respite care for worker
  • Upskill a worker in the field of Human Trafficking

(not planned for in the Project’s Annual Budget)

  • To meet the emergency needs of those who have been trafficked or may be at risk of being trafficked (not for infrastructure):

For example:

  • health issues
  • homelessness: 6 months’ rent to help families become independent (resettlement)
  • education of woman or childcare fees so as to be free to avail of any educational course.

Up to €1000 for language course and  €2000 for a local project/Capacity Building per applicant per annum (at the discretion of Core Group).
For financial auditing purposes, the successful applicant must submit receipts with evidence of completion of task and /or a copy of certificate of attendance (where applicable).
How to Apply
Members can avail of this fund by completing the application form available at
Alternatively, you can write to RENATE’s official email address for an ‘Application Form’.
Please return the completed form electronically to
The request will then be taken to RENATE’s Core Group for approval/non approval.
(Core Group meet once a month), after which time the RENATE Secretary will inform the applicant of the outcome.