Santa Marta Group share Resources for 18 October- EU Day against Human Trafficking.



Modern slavery is one of the gravest criminal challenges confronting the international community. The scale of the problem is such that now, according to some studies, it ranks as the second most profitable worldwide criminal enterprise after the illegal arms trade.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that 40 million people are victims of modern slavery globally and that annual profits generated from trafficking in human beings are as high as $32 billion. It is a serious crime that includes exploiting people for little or no pay. This exploitation can take many forms including; forced labour, sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced criminality and organ harvesting.

There is a constant demand for trafficked people and the major sources remain poorer regions such as Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and South East Asia. Trafficking is facilitated increasingly by modern forms of technology, particularly the use of internet.

The eradication of modern slavery and the pastoral care of victims is a priority for the Catholic Church. Both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis continually drew the attention of the Church and wider world to the moral and human crisis evident in this widespread human exploitation.

Following initiatives by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW), the Santa Marta Group was developed by the CBCEW and first met in Rome during April 2014 when police chiefs and Catholic bishops came together, in the presence of Pope Francis, to sign an historic declaration, committing themselves to a partnership to eliminate human trafficking.

Named after the home of Pope Francis, in which the members stayed, the Group now has members in over 35 countries.

Through a series of conferences, the Bishops’ Conference has brought together the heads of national and international police and law enforcement agencies along with international organisations to look at how they can work with the Church to help victims of modern slavery.

The Santa Marta Group share with us some resources comprising posters and prayer-cards which may be helpful in Human Trafficking awareness-raising, advocacy and campaigning.

Resources available at:

International Day of the Girl Child- 11 October 2018.



Human trafficking, exploitation, harassment, exclusion, physical violence, intimidation, bullying and psychological aggression, child- marriage, gender bias, unemployment, while occurring to both males and females, are more likely to happen to a woman and girl.(EU Survey, Nov. 2017).

Across the world, girls face adversities that hinder their education, training and entry into the workforce. They have less access to information, communication technology and resources such as the internet where the global gender gap is growing.

quarter of young people, most of them girls, are neither employed nor getting an education or training.

This year alone, 12 million girls under 18 will be married, and 21 million girls aged 15 to 19 years will become pregnant in developing regions. (

The RENATE network through its membership across 30 European countries, works in the areas of economic and vocational empowerment, human trafficking and exploitation awareness-raising and prevention, with both genders. For more, check out the newly-built RENATE website at

For more on the International Day of the Girl Child:

Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

18 October 2018- Annual EU Day against Human Trafficking.



18 October is the European Anti-Trafficking Day, launched by the European Commission in 2007 with a view to promoting awareness amongst the general public about the major human rights violation that human trafficking is.

In addition to coming from other continents, victims of human trafficking come from, pass through and have their destinations in the member states of the European Union,

The yearly EU Anti-Trafficking Day on 18 October makes both policymakers and the general public reflect upon the response to trafficking in human beings in Europe.

States still face challenges in properly identifying trafficked persons, providing them with adequate assistance, prosecuting perpetrators and measuring the overall impact of such actions.

The RENATE network across Europe provides victims of trafficking with free humane, expert, professional support. Where necessary, shelter and safe-housing is provided for women and minors. Counselling and medical care, assistance with rehabilitation and reintegration are provided.

And in order to build capacity and enable self-sufficiency and self-esteem, vocational training opportunities are provided and sustained support is the ideal.

Anti-Slavery Day, 18 October provides an opportunity to raise awareness of human trafficking and modern slavery and encourages government, local authorities, companies, charities and individuals to do what they can to address this crime.

Check out www.renate-europe to see the myriad of activities underway by the members of RENATE Europe-wide.


Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

UK Ambassador to the Holy See, holds reception in honour of Imelda Poole, IBVM, President RENATE, on being awarded an MBE for her work to combat and prevent human trafficking and exploitation.



“Changing minds, supporting victims- this is where Religious Sisters make the difference,” thus began the introduction to the evening as Ambassador Axworthy welcomed her guests. Ms. Axworthy ‘s fulsome acknowledgement of the work of female Religious and specifically Sr. Imelda Poole, was shared and appreciated by all present.

Ambassadors from Brazil, Canada, the Ivory Coast, Japan, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia and the US, Religious, friends, family, colleagues and co-workers working to combat human trafficking and exploitation, gathered at the residence of H.E. Ms. Sally Axworthy, Ambassador to the Holy See, on Tuesday evening, 25 September, 2018, to honour Imelda Poole, IBVM, on being awarded an MBE for her work to combat and prevent human trafficking.

Sr. Imelda shared about her work to combat Human Trafficking over the past 14 years and of the extent to which so much can be achieved through collaboration and partnerships. Citing a number of examples of cases where victims gradually overcame their ordeals at the hands of traffickers, Imelda urged continued and sustained support for the work which can transform the lives of the most vulnerable.

On behalf of the guests, Sr. Bernadette Boland, IBVM, Conf. Of  Religious, expressed gratitude to H.E. Mrs. Axworthy, for so generously acknowledging the work and for hosting such a beautiful and very special event.

The official MBE Award ceremony takes place at Buckingham Palace in November, 2018.