As in all of our work, we cannot do this alone. Networking has become an important element of the projects for its strategy for creating a sustainable impact in the target areas, but also at a national and European level. The MWL Women’s Project Manager is the present chair, until December, 2018, of United Response AgainstTrafficking (URAT) network. The membership of this network consists of 4 religious congregations, 9 national NGOs (two of them run shelter for survivors of human trafficking) and Peace Corps. St. Bakhita – the International Day of Prayer against human trafficking, has been a successful activity of this network in February 2018. URAT and MWL also made possible the UN Gift Box Campaign in Vlore for World Day Against Human Trafficking in July and in Kosovo for European Day Against Trafficking in October. MWL has been invited and is part of different networks in Albania including the National Referral Mechanism, where we are represented by the MWL Women’s Advice Center Coordinator. MWLW has developed tools and a network for the facilitation of women to market opportunities. A documentary called “Mary Ward Hope for Women” has been used as a tool to engage businesses and entrepreneurs to collaborate for ethical and socially responsible businesses. Organizing and participating in different fairs organized in Albania, and especially in Tirana, has served for introducing the products but also as a market assessment for the future ongoing work.
“International Workshop “European Parliamentarians Fighting Modern Day slavery”
Mary Ward Loreto was invited to attend the International Workshop “European Parliamentarians Fighting Modern Day Slavery” held on the 26th of September 2018, at the Albanian Parliament. The workshop was jointly organized by the Albanian Parliament and the Human Trafficking Foundation U.K, aiming to build a European Network of Parliamentarians of both Government and Opposition backbenchers to Address Trafficking in Human Beings as Modern Day Slavery.
Albanian parliamentarians, Delegations from U.K, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, and 3 representatives from civil societies in Albania did attend the meeting and discussions. The purpose of the workshop was to find a way by which every parliament can keep the problem of human trafficking higher up in their political agenda regardless of which government is in power or individual political parties. The idea is to establish a parliamentary structure that deals with issues of trafficking in human beings. Many concerns regarding prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships were raised by the panelists at this workshop. Parliamentarians representing Albania raised many issues. This includes the fact that Albania remains one of the most problematic countries regarding the phenomenon of modern day slavery (MDS). It is a country of origin and transit. The low economic level, organized crime, and non-applicability of the law remain the main factors leading to Modern Day Slavery. Highlighted was the importance of preventive measures, starting within the family, reform of the education system and the health system. There was a session on how parliamentarians can work better together in establishing a parliamentary network for the region and considering initial steps to establish parliamentary committees in each country. They emphasized the fact that CSOs are crucial in the process. It was pointed out that there needs to be a process of monitoring the implementation of the laws and the work, to tackle THB. MWL suggested that Civil Society Organisations be involved in the monitoring process, since work in the grass roots may bring up many challenging and realistic issues as seen by the beneficiaries. The discussions and work also need to be focusing on the prevention of re-victimization. This is necessary and needs to be considered as the direct responsibility of law implementers and the main actors responsible for anti-trafficking work. Funding for CSOs remains an issue, and there needs to be more investment in the direct work with the victims and in grass roots action.
We were grateful to attend this workshop and to give our contribution within the network for combatting modern day slavery.
URAT network Albania host the UN GiftBox anti-Human Trafficking Campaign, to mark 18 October, EU Day against Human Trafficking.
The URAT Network in collaboration with Terre des Hommes is running the UN Gift Box campaign in Prizren, Kosovo on the 19th of October. The deputy ministers of Interiors from both Kosovo and Albania and the Mayor of Prizren are presenting at the opening of the event.
This year’s topic is raising awareness about child-trafficking in street situations for begging and petty crimes. Albanian children, mostly from Roma and Egyptian ethnicity, are vulnerable and exploited in Kosovo, as well as at home in Albania.
The organizations collaborating with URAT for this event are IBVM Loreto, MWL, Different & Equal, VATRA, SHKEJ, NISMA, ARSIS, and Caritas Albania.
Numerous events around the GiftBox campaign are organised, including exhibitions and amateur videos, all with a view to attracting and informing young people who are most vulnerable to Human Trafficking.
For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/MaryWardLoreto/
The National Agenda for Women, Peace and Security and its implementation in Albania
The 31st of October marks the 18th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Resolution 1325. On this date, Albania launched its first Action Plan. Albania has made progress in policy making to empower women and achieve gender equality. The Action Plan provides the best measures to tackle gender-based discrimination and empowers women in decision-making, local governments, the army, and the police force. Various important stakeholders including government, partners, donors, NGOs, parliamentary, experts/academics and students attended this conference. The launching of this Action Plan was organized in 2 sessions of guest panels.
The focus of the first session was Peace and Security, Women as leaders of peace and security in conflict situations, International Mechanisms and the obligations of Albania and the Parliament.
RENATE Annual Working Board Meeting – Lviv, UKRAINE, 4-9 November, 2018.
Working Board members gathered at the Pilgrim House of Blessed Jakub Strepa, Lviv-Brzuchowice (approximately 10 Kms from Lviv), as they convened their annual meeting. 29 people from 20 European countries were present during the week. There were many items on the agenda including: a review of the work of the member countries since last year’s Working Board meeting; opportunities for reflection and the sharing of best practice; the departure of the Core Group members whose term of office had come to an end and their replacement by new, enthusiastic Working Board members! A morning was spent specifically as an inculturation time with visits from many special Ukrainian leaders. These included: Bishop Edward Kawa, Auxiliary Bishop of the Lviv Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), Fr. Stepan Sus, Head of the Centre for the Military Chaplaincy of the Lviv Archdiocese of the UGCC, Sr. Natalia Melnyk, Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family, Association of Religious of Roman Catholics and Greek Catholics in UKRAINE, and Mr. Andriy Moskalenko, Deputy Lord Mayor of Lviv City. These people extended a warm welcome to us on the first day, each informing us about their respective work and specific actions to combat human trafficking. Of particular interest was the presentation by Ms. Vera Martynuk (expert on Human Trafficking in the UKRAINE) on the current situation regarding Human Trafficking. Another day was spent in the filed in the city of Lviv. This was a magical day for us all and a really dynamic week.