52 delegates from thirteen countries attended the ANDANTE study days in Durrës, Albania where RENATE President and ANDANTE President, Dr Mary McHugh (UK) and Vroni Peterhans-Suter (Switzerland), extended a warm welcome to all present. Mary and Vroni encouraged delegates to avail of the opportunities for interactions, dialogue and sharing in order to better impact on the eradication of exploitation and trafficking, old crimes in new forms of Modern Slavery.
Prayerful reflection and joyful singing were the hallmarks of each Study Day, which began with morning Liturgy and concluded with amicable table fellowship each night.
The parable of the nameless Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1-26) was referenced at the outset of our first morning, challenging participants to consider and to live, the lessons disclosed in it. This parable was selected because of its example of how the outcasts and marginalised people – including women and girls- were in the central sight-lines of Christ’s ministry.
Acknowledging the centrality of women and their responsibility to actively engage in church and society, was a recurring theme throughout the Study Days.
Delegates learned about the situation regarding Human Trafficking across Europe; Protection and rehabilitation processes for victims; Prevention work against trafficking in Albania and creative approaches to prevention work across Europe in general.
Presentations on activities underway by SOLWODI Romania, SOLWODI Germany, the Council of Europe, Zusterwerk (the Netherlands) were appreciated and very informative.
In sharing extensively about the numerous initiatives underway in Albania and in partnership with other NGO’s internationally, Mary Ward Loreto presented first-hand experiences which were exemplars of hope and possibility, when working in the prevention of human trafficking and exploitation and supports to survivors.
The implications for ANDANTE were comprehensively discussed by the delegates, who departed Albania with a heightened awareness about Modern Slavery and the positive and constructive actions that can be undertaken, however small, which can contribute towards bringing an end to human trafficking and exploitation.
Anne Kelleher, RENATE Communications Person.