RENATE Network represented at Santa Marta Group conference for European policing against trafficking and exploitation
The US Catholic Sister against Human Trafficking’s monthly newsletter is a resource rich in detailed analysis and exposition of issues surrounding human trafficking.
This month’s newsletter focuses on the nexus between homelessness and
Caught in the Net (Czech: V síti) is a 2020 Czech documentary film by Vít Klusák about sexual predators on the internet. The film documents three actresses pretending to be adolescent girls on social media who are contacted by sexual predators that try to seduce them and start sending them photos of their genitalia. Sexual predators appearing in the film attracted focus of police after the release of the film and at least one of them was convicted at the court.
This film is a social film experiment in which those who steal the innocence of children fall into their own traps. The documentary, opening the hitherto taboo topic of online child abuse. Statistics show that the problem is becoming bigger with each passing day, unfortunately, awareness remains low.
The film released on 27 February 2020 and quickly became the best grossing Czech documentary film. An edited version for schools was released under name Caught in the Net: Behind School (Czech: V síti: Za školou). An uncensored version called Caught in the Net 18+ premiered on 9 July 2020. One of the sexual predators contacted a lawyer in an attempt to prevent release of the uncensored version.
On February 6th, a vigil was held in the Santa Lucia parish of Rome. Attended by around 200 people, it was organized by Talitha Kum/UISG. Many young people, religious and priests attended the event.
On 8th of February SOLWODI Hungary organized their 10th prayer event for all affected by Human Trafficking.
The event took place at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Church in Budapest, where those invited could also join online. The ecumenical prayer was followed by a short testimony of Fr. Peter Modga, former parish priest of Schio (the shire of St. Bakhita) who also brought us Bakhita’s relics.
The main celebrant was Fr. Szabolcs Sajgo SJ, who encouraged our Association from its beginning, to be the voice of the voiceless. His inspiring words echoed the message of the international prayer day, calling us to be transformed by God’s mercy to be God’s incarnate mercy for those suffering.
At the end of the mass, we received a special blessing with the relics of St Bakhita.
Reflection by RENATE member, Sr. Tina Ventimiglia
In Messina, Italy, a prayer vigil was organized in the cloisters of the Archbishop’s Palace on the occasion of St. Bakita Day, with the following Italian article highlighting that there are many new forms of slavery, including human trafficking – a real crime against humanity.
Report by Sr. Begoña Iñarra
Marifran Sánchez with the other members of “Weaving Networks”, a Spanish network at national level with: Caritas, Justice and Peace, the Conference of Religious (CONFER) and the department against human trafficking of the Spanish Episcopal Conference organized a “Circle of silence” online (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrsfKk_3IActo ) the 21st of January to pray for victims and perpetrators of Human Trafficking .
This was the poster to announce it:
The Vigil on St. Bakhita day, 8 February 2023 was celebrated in most Spanish dioceses. The Commission against Human Trafficking of the Archidioceses of Madrid (of which both Pilar Gonzalez Cano and Begoña Iñarra are members), organized the prayer in St Cayetano parish in the heart of the traditional borrough of Madrid. There were about 80 people in attendance. It was very symbolic, with a young lady and a man representing the victims of human trafficking and two other women and twomen representing the perpetrators. These ones tied a big belt around the victims with pieces from where they hung different ribbons that had written in big letters.
A beautiful image of St. Bakhita was at the center.
We put up four posters with the words “freedom and dignity”, “care paths and dignity”, “care pathways”, “inclusion” and “empowerment”, which we will use in the third stage of our journey.
Throughout the prayer service, we made a representation to help us better visualise and become aware of what “binds” the victims of trafficking, the chains that prevent them from living in freedom. In the first stage: eyes open, we met the victims and their perpetrators. A woman and a man put themselves in the “skin” of the victims, while three men and women represented the perpetrators. These, tied a big belt around the victims and hungribbons from it containing the words: WAR, VIOLENCE, POVERTY, RAPE, ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS and ECONOMIC CRISIS. A big candle was lit at the feet of St. Bakhita. While the group came slowly walking from the door to the middle of the Church, the assembly listened to the readings, prayed, kept silent and sung. We let ourselves be provoked, engaged, touched by their lives. We placed them in the presence of God and we prayed for the HEALING of the victims and the CONVERSION of the perpetrators, asking God to accompany their processes.
2nd stage: attentive heart to DISCOVER the daily paths of thousands of people in search of freedom and dignity, paths of care, inclusion and empowerment. Four people took the posters next to the image of St. Josephine Bakhita with the words “FREEDOM AND DIGNITY”, “PATHS OF CARE”, “INCLUSION” and “EMPOWERMENT” and went to meet the group of victims and perpetrators and accompanied them towards the altar. The 2nd candle was lit at the foot of the image of St. Bakhita. The assembly prayed for the men and women in the Church who want to discover the paths of our brothers and sisters who are caught in the chains of war, violence, poverty, rape, environmental climate and economic crises, and seek freedom and dignity, ways of care, inclusion and empowerment, listened to God’s Word, kept a prayerful silence and sung.
3rd stage: guiding our feet to PROMOTE anti-trafficking actions that make us rediscover dignity, awaken joy and liberate hope, letting ourselves be inspired by the youth creativity and spiritual strength. Some people from those assembled together went towards the group of victims and perpetrators to untie the ribbons: war, violence, poverty, rape, environmental crisis and economic crisis, which oppress them as victims of trafficking. At the same time those carrying the words “freedom and dignity”, “pathways of care”, “inclusion” and “empowerment” lift them up and when all the ribbons are untied, they put them back at St. Bakhita’s feet in front of the altar. A pair of SANDALS is brought to the altar as a symbol of our walking with integrity in total respect for the unshakeable dignity of the human being and the love of God. After the reading of the Word of God, those assembled together asked the God of tenderness to teach us to welcome the pain of so many victims and to accompany the healing processes of the survivors.
4th stage: Stage 4: Join hands walking together to BUILD a culture of encounter that leads to the conversion of inclusive hearts and societies, capable of unmasking stereotypes and protecting the rights of every person. On the altar are the two people who represent survivors of trafficking, six the perpetrators, five who help to untie what oppresses and four who represent “freedom and dignity”, “pathways of care”, “inclusion” and “empowerment”. They and all those assembled together joined hands and formed a circle around the altar. The image of St. Bakhita with the symbols and the candles lit are at the centre of the circle, where the symbol of this 4th stage, the GOSPEL is brought in and placed at the feet of St. Bakhita. This showed our commitment to let ourselves be enlightened by the power of the Word. At the end of the vigil St. Bakhita’s song accompanied our greetings and embraces as we bid each other farewell.
Begoña Iñarra in the name of the RENATE members from Spain.
In conjunction with this event, Sr. Begoña Iñarra, on behalf of the Human Trafficking Commision of Madrid Archdiocese, will also travel on February 21st to Montpellier College, to talk with 2 classes of secondary school boys and girls about human trafficking and advise them on their end of year school projects.
Genc Gjoci is a RENATE member based in Albania, who participated in this year’s Youth Ambassador programme in Rome, during the week marking the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking in Rome last week.
This week was arranged by the UISG, to facilitate formation and networking on human trafficking as part of the 9th year honouring the International Day of Prayer & Awareness against Human Trafficking.
Full information at: