MARY WARD LORETO is planting hope with a human rights approach to combating modern day slavery. This challenging mission is implemented through works of justice, education, grass roots action and systemic change.
The aim is to eradicate poverty, the prime cause for human trafficking.

Month: March 2014

New Initiatives by Global Faiths…

New Initiative By Global Faiths To Eradicate Modern Slavery And Human Trafficking By 2020

Published: Monday, Mar. 17, 2014 – 3:39 am

VATICAN CITY, March 17, 2014 — /PRNewswire/ — Eradicating modern slavery and human trafficking across the world by 2020 is the objective of a ground-breaking agreement announced today at the Vatican. This unprecedented agreement among representatives of major faiths inaugurates the Global Freedom Network (GFN) which also has the Walk Free Foundation as a major partner. [1]

The Memorandum of Agreement and Joint Statement establishing the Global Freedom Network had the following signatories:


  • On behalf of the Holy Father, Pope Francis Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences
  • On behalf of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Egypt Dr Mahmoud Azab
  • On behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Justin Welby The Most Reverend Sir David John Moxon, his representative to the Holy See
  • On behalf of the Walk Free Foundation Mr Andrew Forrest, founder.


The Joint Statement by the Global Freedom Network signatories underscored the searing personal destructiveness of modern slavery and human trafficking and called for urgent action by all other Christian Churches and Global Faiths. The Global Freedom Network is an open association and other faith leaders will be invited to join and support this initiative.


Modern slavery and human trafficking are crimes against humanity.

The physical, economic and sexual exploitation of men, women and children condemns 30 million people to dehumanization and degradation. Every day we let this tragic situation continue is a grievous assault on our common humanity and a shameful affront to the consciences of all peoples.

Any indifference to those suffering exploitation must cease. We call to action all people of faith and their leaders, all governments and people of goodwill, to join the movement against modern slavery and human trafficking and support the Global Freedom Network.

Only by activating, all over the world, the ideals of faith and of shared human values can we marshal the spiritual power, the joint effort and the liberating vision to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking from our world and for all time. This evil is manmade and can be overcome by faith-inspired human will and human effort.

We salute all those already engaged in this struggle, and fervently hope that this new project will further encourage their commitment to set free the most oppressed of our brothers and sisters.

Despite the best endeavours of so many in so many countries, modern slavery and human trafficking continue to expand. Victims are hidden away: in places of prostitution, in factories and farms, on fishing boats, and illegal establishments, in private homes behind locked doors and in myriad other places, in cities, villages and slums in the world’s richest nations and poorest nations.

The Global Freedom Network will take up the instruments of faith – prayer, fasting and almsgiving. There will be a world day of prayer for the victims and for their freedom. Everyone of faith and everyone of goodwill will be requested to join in reflection and action. Dedicated prayer networks will be formed in all parts of the world.

Under the Agreement, all parties commit to pursuing all avenues and pathways to galvanise global action to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking. Action plans for the first year will be developed to engage:


  • All global faiths to modern slavery-proof their supply chains and investments and to take remedial action if necessary
  • All global faiths to mobilize their youth sections to support programmes to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking
  • Families, schools, universities, congregations and institutions to educate on the nature of modern slavery and human trafficking, how to report it and the destructiveness of harmful social attitudes and prejudices and social systems in relation to modern slavery and human trafficking
  • Government leaders to modern slavery-proof public sector supply chains
  • 50 major multi-national businesses whose CEOs are people of faith or of goodwill to commit to modern slavery-proof their supply chains
  • 162 governments to publicly endorse the establishment of the Global Fund to End Slavery, with 30 heads of state publicly endorsing it by the end of 2014
  • The G20 to condemn modern slavery and human trafficking and adopt an anti-slavery andhuman trafficking initiative and support the abovementioned Global Fund.


The Joint Statement then concludes:

Our world must be freed of these terrible evils and crimes against humanity. Every hand and heart must be joined to bring this freedom to all those who are trapped and suffering. This agreement is a beginning and a pledge – the victims of modern slavery and human traffickingwill not be forgotten or ignored: everyone will know their story. We will walk with them to freedom.

Note to editors: Definition of slavery

The Memorandum of Agreement defines modern slavery and human trafficking as an umbrella term referring to the systematic removal of an individual’s freedom. It encompasses the following types of modern slavery, as defined by the following international instruments:


  • Human trafficking including forced prostitution – Palermo Protocol 2000, European Trafficking Convention*;
  • Slavery – The Slavery Convention (1926) and Supplementary Slavery Convention (1956);
  • Forced Labour – ILO Forced Labour Convention (No. 29, 1930) and Convention Concerning the Abolition of Forced Labour (No. 105);
  • Children in armed conflict – Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict;
  • Child Prostitution – Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography*;
  • Worst forms of child labour – Convention on the Rights of the Child and Convention Concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (No. 182);
  • Debt bondage and forced marriage – Supplementary Slavery Convention (1956).
  • Any other forms of modern slavery and human trafficking that the Board considers should be included within the vision and objectives of this Memorandum of Agreement.


*The focus is on forms of forced prostitution and pornography, which fall within these definitions of modern slavery and human trafficking.

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Visitors from the UK Government Visit Mary Ward Loreto

Vistirs form British GovThe British Deputy Ambassador for Mission in Albania and Members of the British Government Visit Mary Ward Loreto: February 2014

Probably because there is such a high scale of number of Albanian and East European victims of trafficking  in the UK, a deputation from the British Government were travelling across the Balkans in February to look at a  way of developing mutual cooperation for the return of victims to their country of origin.  We felt that the emphasis should be on protection of the victims in the country of destination and the need to look at justice and human rights for the victims.  We also felt that there should be a much greater emphasis put on cross border control within the international police forces. We kept repeating these messages at the round table held in Mary Ward Loreto and also later at a reception for the visitors at the British Embassy.  We can only hope that something of these messages were heard  by the end of their stay with us.

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This month was particularly focused on returnee victims of trafficking. Through this website and other means, contacts were made with Imelda Poole to seek help to protect victims on their return to Albania.  Always in these cases , help is sought from the CEO of the shelter for trafficked victims run by Different and Equal. The response has always been immediate and very thorough.  We are eternally grateful for this rapid response to a cry for help from the carers of victims who have been trafficked outside their country of origin. Theses women have been made so vulnerable at the hands of their torturers and need specialised support at the point when a government is requesting them to leave the country of destination .  We know that Albanian girls are now the highest percentage of trafficked victims in the shelters across the UK.

Also at this time a group of representatives from the American Embassy and other agencies came to look at our mutual roles in the fields of trafficking in human persons and immigration issues.  The key workers connected to Mary Ward Loreto formed a round table for this meeting and these included the manager of The Little Angels Roma Project, the CEO of Different and Equal, the Manager of Mary Ward’s Women and the President of Mary Ward Loreto. The exchange of ideas was useful for all of us and we hope to continue this dialogue.

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New Staff for Mary Ward Loreto/ Mary Ward Women – February 2014

The project, Mary Ward’s Women, one of the first projects managed by Mary Ward Loreto under the leadership of Ana Stakaj,  is proving to be very successful.  Having developed this project from its beginning it employed two more workers over the last two years when it was under the management of SHKEJ.  This led to an initiative in the north led by Irena Kraja which successfully opened up a market for the selling of the women’s handmade embroidered cards and the selling of sage. When MWW moved under the management of MWL, in January, 2013, an MWL office was set up in the locality of Hot I Ri for the MWW worker, Irena Kraja, to oversee all of these wonderful developments. Now through the newly successful development of groups in the south and the north, MWL offices are being founded in Fier and Shendilli in the south, and in Breglumas on the periphery of Tirana. This has led to a growing need for more workers, social psychologists, to spear head these initiatives.  In early February short lists were drawn up and two new full time workers were appointed to work in Fier and Shendili.  We are thrilled to welcome them on to the Mary Ward Loreto staff and into the team of Mary Ward Women. New offices have been found during this month and they are being refurbished to welcome the new workers in mid March. Breglumas also has a new office within the buildings owned by the Dominican sisters. The MWW worker in Breglumas, Arta Zeqiri, is very happy to work in collaboration with the sisters for the development of the work with the women, in this heavily populated migrant region on the edge of Tirana.

In The centre of The Dominican Sisters Breglumas Arta Zeqiri - Social Worker MWW
In the centre of The Dominican Sisters Breglumas. Arta Zeqiri – Social Worker MWW
The Women of Breglumas
The Women of Breglumas




It has also been an exciting initiative over this time, to work with The Medaille Trust.  Over the last couple of months there has been exchanges from MWL to the UK to visit the shelters and the staff of the Medaille Trust, including Mike Emberson, the Manager of the Projects for the Medaille and some other staff, have been to Albania, to make a joint discernment as to how we can work together.  The decision reached was that the partnership between the Medaille Trust and the Mary Ward Loreto Foundation would focus on the new work being developed in Shendili. The contract between the two NGOs will be signed in March.

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