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Reflection from RENATE member Clare O’ Mahony, olcgs, on her ministry in recent times.

 

In Northern Ireland, since January 2018,  we have not had statutory events or discussion meetings concerning the overall work undertaken  in relation to trafficking of women for sexual exploitation or, as has been prevalent here migrant workers trafficked for economic  exploitation.   Both these problems are still part of our reality and the dearth of focus or sharing of supports in place is probably due to the absence of our Executive functioning.

Two slender signs of positive energy being focussed and expended  are –

  1. The continued functioning of Solace – small accommodation refuge  for victims. This is the project of a most Christian couple who have set up and welcome  residents to their six-bedded unit in the countryside, where genuine healing space is offered.
  2. I am aware of a strong support group that supports this vibrant unit.  This group has a functioning Charity Shop that provides much-needed finance and is a great support to Solace.
  3. Our main event in this year was  the coming together of three groups to reflect and pray, sharing their prayer contribution on the Feast of Saint Bakita and their inclusion of prayer for the eradication of the trafficking scourge from our local  environment. where horrific cases have emerged and been exposed.

Clare O’Mahony.

Pastoral Outreach.

 

 

RENATE Europe representation at the OSCE 19th Alliance against Trafficking in Persons conference, Vienna, 4 April 2019, ‘’Using Technology to combat Trafficking in Human Beings : turning a liability into an asset.’’

 

RENATE members Ana Stakaj and Annie Bannister represented RENATE at the OSCE conference where the focus was on improving our understanding of how technology is being misused to facilitate human trafficking and exploitation so that we can build better responses and exploring how technology can be adopted to help combat all forms of human trafficking.

The Secretary General stated that regrettably, it is a fact of life that technology and the internet are enabling the market for human trafficking. Anonymity contributes to the global increase of this crime and the associated illegal proceeds which human trafficking includes. It was agreed at the conference that our task should be to harness technology as an asset. The following were emphasised:

  1. We need to listen to survivors.
  2. In our efforts to prevent and combat human trafficking, we need to partner with civil society and the private sector.
  3. Broad, multi-agency co-operation is invaluable.
  4. Technology as a force multiplier is the only way to fight crime in the modern context.

Technology can be deployed to deter the criminal operations of traffickers in the virtual space and disrupt the human trafficking marketplace by carrying out innovative, targeted and large-scale interventions. The Alliance conference heightened awareness about practices and participants had an opportunity to discuss how national legal and institutional frameworks could be adjusted to allow replicating these best practices on a wider scale.

It was agreed that Information and Communication Technologies can also help victims of Human Trafficking by enabling them to report their exploitation, seek shelter and assistance and engage in rehabilitation programmes.

The world’s leading anti-trafficking experts attended the conference, which also heard form survivors, NGOs and representatives from tech. companies involved in the development of new technology tools addressing this crime, e.g. Microsoft, Nokia, Thorn and British Telecom (BT), who showcased their latest developments at the Conference.

It was particularly beneficial for RENATE to be represented at this year’s conference as the RENATE website has been newly reconstructed with a view to enhanced capacities to use technologies to support the work of the network, as well as support survivors who may wish to access the website.

The Conference was streamed live at : www.osce.org/live and may still be available at this link.

Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.