An unequal battle against Human Trafficking Reflection by Sr. Marie Hélène Halligon, OLCGS.



Author Marie Hélène Halligon, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity the Good Shepherd.
Author Marie Hélène Halligon, Congregation of Our Lady of Charity the Good Shepherd.

In November 2017, a CNN reporter brought to light the sale of African migrants in Libya. Such an escalation of the trafficking and exploitation of human beings, has surpassed all previous levels of depravity.
In the following article, RENATE member Marie Hélène Halligon, olcgs, writes about the ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking, not only from the imperative to release those who have fallen victim to traffickers, but from the primacy of restoring and maintaining the dignity of the human person, made in the image and likeness of God.
Marie Hélène expands on the theme of an unequal battle against Human Trafficking, by considering the meaning of the following Rights, which every human being is entitled to:
The right to a decent life- a battle against the roots of evil;
The right to freedom and safety- a battle against indifference;
The right to recognition- a battle against denial.
The right to international freedom- a battle of worldwide dimensions.
A political battle- to bring these rights to the attention of decision-makers.
The rights of all victims- a long-term battle.
The right to be considered a human being.
The right to education- a battle for the respect of freedom of expression.
The right to call on God- a spiritual battle.
Full article at:
Translated 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.



In 1 Corinthians 6, which was read on Sunday 14th January, St Paul tells the people of Corinth that they have been “bought and paid for”.  Elsewhere, Paul tells his readers that they have not been bought with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. Paul’s desire is that the readers, and we are now the readers, should set a high price on themselves, since God values them so much.
Those very words, “bought and paid for”, are very chilling when we think of them in the context of human trafficking. Women who have been forced into prostitution have heard them when they pleaded with their traffickers or with “clients” to spare them. Some have been told, “Shut up! I want what I paid for!” or “I paid for you and I want my money’s worth”.
It is heart-breaking to hear women working in prostitution saying, “I am only a piece of dirt”. This is what they have been reduced to; this is how they see themselves.
Modern society has got to the stage where there is a divide between those who are valued and valuable and those who are of less value or even expendable. Whole populations are dismissed as of little consequence. Who is good enough to be allowed to enter the USA? Whose life can be ended before birth? Who can be bought and sold for the gratification of other people?
Paul’s words are encouraging and challenging. Let us value ourselves, know who we are and what we are worth to God and let us value others so much that they will begin to value themselves, and know themselves to be precious in our eyes and in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.
Eilis Coe, rsc. 15 January 2018.

Migrants: trouver une réponse commune.


In anticipation of the International day of Awareness and Prayer against Human Trafficking, 8 February 2018, RENATE member Begoña Iñarra published the following blog on RENATE France website
Le Pape François a fait de la question migratoire un marqueur fort de son pontificat. Il  a développé une approche nouvelle articulée autour des verbes : accueillir, protéger, promouvoir,intégrer ».
A l’occasion de la journée mondiale du migrant et du réfugié, les évêques de
France, nous indiquent les actions qui, dans le contexte français et pour
chacun des quatre verbes, les paraissent être prioritaires. Parmi elles,
certaines pourront nourrir un plaidoyer préalable aux négociations des
pactes mondiaux de 2018.
Lisez le document des évêques avec ces priorités.
For additional features, please see
Adapted by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

EUROPAEUM: Looking to academia for inspiration to combat Human Trafficking.


An association of leading European Universities has been assessing its achievements and looking ahead to ensure international cooperation. Newly focused with the aim of creating a new pan-European network of future leaders ‘’…committed to interacting with the wider community and across nations…’’ entitled EUROPAEUM, it will ask 30 scholars to suggest solutions to social and political issues such as Human Trafficking, youth unemployment and regional separatism.
Oxford University, St. Andrews, (Scotland),  the University of Luxembourg are amongst the elite participating universities, where Dr. Andrew Graham, Executive Chairperson of EUROPAEUM stated:   
“What we want are outcomes that will excite people and be useful, whether to an MP or the European parliament or an NGO or business. It could be all sorts of things, but it has to interest someone and give them a solution that they can bring about.”  
Participating Universities are; Charles University, Prague; The Complutense University of Madrid; Graduate Institute of International and Development studies, Geneva, Switzerland; University of Helsinki; Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland; Leiden University,the Netherlands; Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; University of Luxembourg; University of Oxford; Pompeu Fabra University, Catalonia; University of St. Andrews (Scotland); Pantheon-Sorbonne University (Paris).  
For more:
Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.  

New 12-part report Confronting Root Causes: Forced Labour in Global Supply Chains.


New 12-part report Confronting Root Causes: Forced Labour in Global Supply Chains– Genevieve Lebaron, Neil Howard, Cameron Thibos and Penelope Kyritsis, shines a light on key questions we need to ask when examining forced labour in global supply chains.
While Policy makers, business leaders and civil society organisations call for a determination of the root causes, commonly used terms such as ‘poverty’ and ‘globalisation’ tend to obscure ‘’a web of decisions and processes that maintain an unjust status quo, while being used as euphemisms for deeper socio-economic structures that lie at the core of the capitalist global economy. ’’ (Lebaron, Howard, Thibos and Kyritsis, 2018).   
Working from the classic economic metaphor of ‘’Supply and Demand,’’ the report explores the understanding of an over-supply and imminently exploitable workforce versus the demand for their labour, integral to the contemporary constructs of global supply chains.
On the Supply side, the report identifies four dynamics which contribute to creating a corpus of workers who are vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation: specifically, Poverty, Identity and discrimination, Limited labour protections and Restrictive mobility regimes.
On the Demand side, the report proffers Concentrated Corporate Power and Ownership, Outsourcing, Irresponsible Sourcing Practices and Governance Gaps, as the four dynamics which ‘’either create pressure within the market for highly exploitable forms of labour or open up spaces within which labour can be exploited.’’ (ibid).
Poverty and labour exploitation are frequently inter-linked with  forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery and this particular report attempts to provide the reader with the tools to navigate the global value chain, which binds all of us and therefore implicates all of us in the responsibility to play our part in bringing an end to human trafficking and modern slavery.
Full report at:
Prepared by Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications.

Reader of the Declaration


This Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery was endorsed by Anglican, Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Orthodox religious leaders.
 “We, the undersigned, are gathered here today for a historic initiative to inspire spiritual and practical action by all global faiths and people of good will everywhere to eradicate modern slavery across the world by 2020 and for all time. In the eyes of God*, each human being is a free person, whether girl, boy, woman or man, and is destined to exist for the good of all in equality and fraternity. Modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labour and prostitution, organ trafficking, and any relationship that fails to respect the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have the same freedom and dignity, is a crime against humanity. We pledge ourselves here today to do all in our power, within our faith communities and beyond, to work together for the freedom of all those who are enslaved and trafficked so that their future may be restored. Today we have the opportunity, awareness, wisdom, innovation and technology to achieve this human and moral imperative.”  2nd December, 2014.
 (*The Grand Imam of Al Azhar uses the word “religions”.)

The 16 Days of Activism Against gender-Based Violence Campaign.


An annual campaign by UN Women, the 16 Days of Activism Against gender-Based Violence Campaign aims not only to end violence against women and girls, but to also ensure nobody is left behind. The campaign further aims to raise awareness and ignite a global conversation about the need for inclusive and sustainable programmes, policies and resources in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Beginning 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and running until 10 December, International Human Rights Day, the campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute, which was coordinated by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership, in 1991.
16 Days Activism against Gender Based Violence 32 page compilation of daily activities 2017.
For more: