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Event report: ‘’The Intersections of Family Homelessness and Human Trafficking.’’ UNANIMA International Publication Launch

 

 ‘’The Intersections of Family Homelessness and Human Trafficking.’’  11 May 2021. Webinar to mark the launch of UNANIMA International publication.

UNANIMA International is a coalition of communities of women religious –in 83 countries – who bring their voices, concerns and experiences as educators, health providers, social workers, development and community builders to the United Nations (UN). 

UNANIMA International’s continued and evolving focus on women and children/girls who have been displaced has prompted the organization to take a lead role, including research, in homeless advocacy at the United Nations. Its present focus is on homelessness and displacement as one of several global concerns it seeks to address, at the United Nations.

 “Transforming our world” is the core mantra for 2030 Agenda for UN Sustainable Development Goals and its pledge to ‘leave no one behind, especially those furthest left behind.’  Addressing family homelessness, displacement and trauma are integral to achieving that 2030 agenda.  In this regard, UNANIMA undertook a significant piece of research on ‘The Intersections of Family Homelessness and Human Trafficking,’  including reflections on the lived experiences of homeless and trafficked persons; along with service providers; advocates and policy makers.

At its launch, speakers were represented from Australia, the Philippines, India, Italy, Albania, USA and Ireland, giving a wide-ranging view of the plight of people suffering the trauma of homelessness, and this trauma combined with human trafficking in some instances.

Sr. Noelene Simmons, ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Human Trafficking), s outlined its response to emerging issues of migrants and homelessness.

A woman from the Philippines told her heart-rending story of surviving trafficking and homelessness, attributing her recovery to the support she received from women religious who guided her rehabilitation.

The Co-ordinator of Talitha Kum  – a network of Catholic nuns working in anti-human trafficking – Gabriella Bottani, shared on  trans-national, collaborative anti-human trafficking work across 92 countries, seven Continents. Its theme for 2021 International Day of Prayer Against Human Trafficking (IDPAHT), 8th February, An Economy without Human Trafficking highlighted the present dominant economic model as   one of the major causes of human trafficking. Adi Shakti shared about the SoulWork initiative in India.

Rocio Moron and Kirin Taylor shared on the work of UNANIMA International, specifically the work behind the creation of its publication and Amarachi Grace Ezeonu, SND, representing the sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at the UN, shared her mission of advocacy on family displacement, homelessness and human trafficking. 

Imelda Poole, IBVM, President RENATE Europe spoke to the central themes of family, homelessness, and human trafficking, with power-point slides. 

Drawing upon her work at Mary Ward Loreto Albania with its mission to end human trafficking and exploitation, Imelda shared from her years of experience working with people in dire poverty leaving them homeless. She also shared her work on human trafficking, homelessness and the cross-border transits that  is the reality for the those marginalised in Albanian society. Her account illustrated a starkness to the real-life situations for the Roma community in Albania and the undocumented Romanian girls on the street at Euston station, London. 

Imelda went on to say how Ineffective legislation plays its own part in the intersections of family homelessness and human trafficking when in so many, many countries worldwide, domestic workers (largely immigrant women) are often unprotected by labour laws. 

 

In addition to each one’s particular story, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was referenced by all speakers, but Imelda highlighting additional impacts such as the closure of homeless shelters and drop-in centres; the closure of police front-desks; Charities and NGOs being furloughed and the ensuing lack of supports to support and protect homeless people. It all contributes to destitute and desperate people falling into the hands of predators who lurk on the mean streets, watching for and seizing upon the opportunity to exploit those who are at their most vulnerable.

Referencing a UK based foundation, Street Linkshttps://www.streetlink.org.uk    Imelda laid bare the undisputed truth that displaced peoples have human rights and are members of society and yet they suffer daily deprivation and  discrimination (Street Link app). 

With increased unemployment arising from the pandemic, hundreds of homeless people are recruited into ‘slave’ labour, recruited form street corners and soup kitchens, lured by the empty promises of cash, food, drink or drugs. Imelda talked about these hopeful people being locked into squalid conditions, beaten, forced to work unrelenting hours and without access to fundamental human rights.

 

She challenged us living in the UK, with ‘which of us can say we don’t know much of this’ now that radio programmes such as The Archers and drama TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy have incorporated the themes of human trafficking and homelessness in various episodes in the past year? 

 

But it was Imelda’s statement that society causes human trafficking which created the greatest impact, as step-by step, she peeled back the onion-like layers of society, exposing our complicity – albeit indirectly mostly– in factors contributing to human trafficking: systemic poverty, breakdown of family leading to dysfunction, homelessness as we demand cheaper goods and services to maximise profits 

In the face of the moral imperative to respond to the question ‘’what can be done?’’  Imelda pointed out some very basic steps such as the following;

  • Become aware/educate yourself;
  • Raise awareness at night shelters (https://theclewerinitiative.org );
  • Work Together (Let’s Talk initiative); 
  • Research (Hostia and the Passage);
  • Advocate and speak out.

The launch of The Intersections of Family Homelessness and Human Trafficking has opened the door and shone a light for all to see. 

Just as society – individuals as well as policy-makers – responsible for allowing homelessness, exploitation and human trafficking to continue, all are  equally responsible to step up and play a crucial role to end these open-wounds on contemporary society.

Her final message is: Let us all play our part together, mindful of the simple steps we need to take.  

Contre la Traite newsletter March 2021

 

The March 2021 edition of the Newsletter leads with an emphasis on the Worlds Day against Child Trafficking, 16 April, 2021.

Despite Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declaring ‘’No one will be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and trafficking are prohibited in all their forms,’’ there continues to be an escalation in the numbers of children and youths trafficked worldwide.

Raising awareness about this crime is an essential action to help in prevention. The Newsletter contains a link to a video created for this very purpose, to raise awareness amongst age groups 6 to 10. 

Additional content focuses on a number of inter-connected themes such as adapting accommodation proposals in order to assist Human Trafficking victims; safe accommodation provision and multi-disciplinary supports to assist victims; supporting Human Trafficking victims as they navigate the world of work.

This and much, much more at: http://www.contrelatraite.org/contre-esclavage-enfants 

 

 

 

 

 

Attributions

Feature image designed by Greg Savvides with source content from:

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Starline

Weirdhkgirl

Council of Europe Newsletter, January-April 2021.

 

The latest Annual Report from GRETA – the Council of Europe’s group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings- expresses concerns that the Covid-19 pandemic is having a worrying impact on human trafficking across Europe and states should do more to prevent it.

Read about the 40th Plenary session of GRETA and elects a new President and Vice-Presidents. Helga Gayer, who is Deputy Head of the analysis unit dealing with trafficking in human beings at the German Federal Criminal Police, was elected as GRETA’s President. Antoaneta Vassileva, senior expert in Animus Association/La Strada Bulgaria and Programme Co-ordinator at the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre was elected as GRETA’s First Vice-President. Julia Planitzer, Associated Expert at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in Vienna, was elected as GRETA’s Second Vice-President.

With the increase of labour exploitation as the predominant form of human trafficking, GRETA publishes new guidance for states to combat human trafficking and labour exploitation.

Read the full newsletter here

STOP Trafficking Newsletter May 2021. Vol 19. No. 5.

 

FOCUS: This issue highlights the findings of the Global Trafficking in Persons Report, 2020, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Released on 2 February 2021, this is the fifth Global report by the UNODC. The data is from 2018, prior to the pandemic and therefore does not reflect the developments that have taken place since 2020 and the global impact of the pandemic. However, the UNODC notes the economic fallout from COVID-19 has left millions more people vulnerable to trafficking.
With more women, men and children throughout the world out of school, out of work, without social support and facing diminished prospects, targeted action is urgently needed to stop crimes like trafficking in persons from adding to the pandemic’s toll.

This month’s edition of the STOP Trafficking Newsletter covers the following:
1. Victims of labour trafficking may be hidden in plain sight, labouring for well-known companies.
2. Distinct victim profiles and exploitative patterns and trends are examined in the following areas:-
Domestic work; the construction industry; the fishing industry.
3. Migration and labour trafficking.
4. How the internet and social media are increasingly being used by traffickers to exploit their
victims.
5. Human Trafficking within the context of regional overviews.
6. Human Trafficking of children- for forced labour and for sexual exploitation.
Actions to be undertaken, recommended resources and much, much more in yet another
informative edition of the STOP Trafficking Newsletter from the US Catholic Sisters Against Human
Trafficking.

Read the full newsletter here

ONLINE EVENT: PUBLICATION LAUNCH – THE INTERSECTIONS OF FAMILY, HOMELESSNESS AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

 

 

RENATE President, Imelda Poole, IBVM, is amongst the following guest speakers at next Tuesday’s online event to launch the publication The intersections of Family Homelessness and Human Trafficking.

The event will be in English with simultaneous translation to Spanish, Portugese, & French

Click here to register

Tuesday, May 11th 10:00 EST (USA), 15.00, BST & 16.00 CST.

Our Speakers:

Sr. Noelene Simmons – ACRATH, Australia

Lived Experience – The Philippines

Sr. Gabriella Bottani – Talitha Kum, Rome

Sr. Imelda Poole – RENATE, Europe

Adi Shakti – SoulWork, India

Rocio Moron & Kirin Taylor – UNANIMA International

Sr. Amarachi Grace Ezeonu – Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur at the UN

Webinar chaired by:

Jean Quinn, DW – UNANIMA International