Ireland has been downgraded to a tier 2 country

A US State-Department report reveals Ireland has been downgraded to a tier 2 country, meaning it is no longer deemed to be meeting the minimum standards required.

The Trafficking in Persons review outlines ongoing shortcomings in the treatment of victims here and chronic deficiencies in identification.

In response, the Immigrant Council of Ireland says it is grave news to hear that Ireland is failing to meet even the minimum standards required.

It says it has long been concerned that asylum-seekers here cannot be identified as victims of trafficking, meaning many are not able to access the supports they are entitled to. Read the full article here

South Central Province Meeting

We were delighted to be invited by the South Central Province to De la Salle, Pastoral Centre, Castletown Co. Laois to give an afternoon information session on the work of MECPATHS.

The Information session consisted of our MECPATHS presentation, a talk from the Project founder Sr. Mary Ryan on the work of the Project and a brief presentation on volunteering with the MECPATHS project. We also heard accounts from some of our present volunteers on their experience of volunteering with the MECPATHS project.

It was a wonderful opportunity for MECPATHS and we are most grateful to all who gave of their time to support the project, attend the session and learn more about our work to counter child trafficking and protect children.

Spirit Radio interview with MECPATHS

MECPATHS Education Coordinator Ann Mara speaks to Wendy Grace of Spirit Radio about the work of MECPATHS, the distinguishable difference between Human Trafficking and Sex Trafficking in Ireland. Ann further explores the vulnerability of Children and discusses the 750,000 predators who sit online, waiting to exploit and groom the vulnerable.

With 4.5 million children trafficked globally each year, Ann details the role which The Hospitality Sector has in reducing these numbers and explores the ways we, as a nation in Ireland, can work to counter Child Trafficking.

As a project of The Congregation of The Sisters of Mercy, we are very happy to support any hotels in Ireland who would like to avail of our Education and Information Programmes. Please do get in touch, directly, should your hotel wish to reach out for our support

You can listen to Ann’s Interview here:


World Earth Day 2018

As the world takes a moment of pause to mark World Earth Day, 2018, we are drawn to reflect on the consequences of the ongoing degradation of the planet. The Sisters of Mercy continue in their work to draw attention to the world around us, to the important role each person, and living thing plays in making up the world. MECPATHS, as a project of the congregation, so too recognises the role climate change can play within the world of Human Trafficking.

Communities, and individuals, who are reliant on land, the seas, the oceans and rivers for survival have seen a great reduction in their ability to draw from the world around us as climate change takes hold. With a reduced income or ability to provide for their families, many are drawn to other parts of their respective countries and continents for alternative means of providing and surviving. With promises of better lives, of increased income and more positive futures for their children, many adults find themselves in situations which are not, ‘as promised’. They are exploited, they are abused, they are sold and bought, and they are trafficked. They become trapped and alone.

The world around us impacts on each of us in different ways- it can be positive, it can be challenging, it can provide a path of joy and harmony or a winding road of darkness and hardship. This World Earth Day, take a moment of pause, and look around you. Take a moment to be grateful and take a moment to think of those whose lives are affected so darkly by the many who take advantage of a weary world which continues to change, rapidly #raiseyourvoice

Bill proposes to restrict foreign travel of convicted paedophiles

Sr. Mary Ryan (Founder, MECPATHS) and Aisling Murray (Volunteer Co-ordinator) [pictured with Fr. Shay Cullen SSC and Deputy Maureen O’ Sullivan] attended a Press Conference to explore the International discourse around the restricted travel of registered child sex-offenders in Ireland, Buswells Hotel on 18th April 2018.

A  Statement by Irish missionary, Fr. Shay Cullen SSC, on proposed new law to restrict the travel of  convicted sex offenders records:

“For most of my life I have tried to protect children in the Philippines and elsewhere from local and traveling sex offenders, and bring them justice with some success but with great difficulty.  Now, The Sex Offenders Amendment Bill introduced by Maureen O’Sullivan TD is a major and very significant legislative initiative that will surely prevent the sexual abuse of many children in developing nations.  Through the  Preda Foundation, hundreds of victims have been saved from child abusers but this legislation, when passed by the Oireachtas, will prevent and save hundreds more from child abuse.

Since I suggested such a law for Ireland during my visit to Leinster House last April, there has been rapid progress, and I congratulate Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan for her dedication in bringing this Bill to First Stage in Dail Eireann. I expect that the Irish people and TDs and Senators will support it and set an example for other EU countries. As a result, convicted child sex offenders will be  unable to travel to countries like the Philippines, Thailand and Camboda where enforcement of child protection laws are very weak, and children and their parents are vulnerable to the monetary enticements of well-off Irish sex offenders.

PREDA FOUNDATION (People’s Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance) asks that we hear the cries of victims of sexual abuse and move with urgency to protect these voiceless children. Sex tourism from Ireland is growing and more Irish bars are opening in the Philippines. The recent media coverage of arrests of suspected child abusers in Ireland and a high-profile Irish TV producer’s jailing in the UK has once again shone a light on the problem. However, that case is only the tip of the iceberg. The internet or dark web is enticing thousands of paedophiles worldwide to travel to developing countries and abuse children, some whom they first met on-line through a human trafficker who is a relative.

The passing of this amendment to the Sexual Offenders Act 2001 will curtail child abuse sex tourism and protect children. The time has come for government, parliamentarians, and society to take action to support the Bill and protect vulnerable impoverished children.”

The Immediate National Media response can be read here

PRESS Release 

Workshop Conference on The Aviation & Hospitality Sectors response to Countering Modern Slavery

Ann Mara, Education Co-ordinator, and JP O’ Sullivan, Research & Communications Co-ordinator, were invited by The Welsh Government to join a conference at The Principality Stadium, Cardiff, to explore the response of The Aviation and Hospitality Industries to modern day slavery, human trafficking and child sexual exploitation in The United Kingdom, on April 18th. Ann and JP were joined by Anthony Joseph of PREM Group, one of MECPATHS’ greatest industry advocates.

Joining a list of delegates from NGO’s, Government, Industry Leaders and Change Makers, the conference offered a clear and insightful overview of the rapid responses in place across The UK to keep people safe. A valuable and a great learning opportunity to meet with those who share our MECPATHS passion to deliver change.

Sincere thanks to Stephen Chapman, Anti-Slavery Co-ordinator for The Welsh Government for his generosity of support and to the other delegates who have kindly expressed their support for MECPATHS and our future efforts to change the landscape for children trapped in worlds of trafficking.

To read more about the event and to explore the days proceedings, please click here Workshop 2018 Cardiff draft agenda (3)

Northern Province Information Session

With sincere “Thanks” to the Mercy Northern Province for hosting a MECPATHS information session earlier today 13/04/2018.

Mercy Efforts for Child Protection Against Trafficking with The Hospitality Sector (MECPATHS) is a project of the congregation of The Sisters of Mercy working in partnership with the hospitality sector in Ireland to counter child trafficking and child sexual exploitation.

An opportunity to connect with everyone, to share updates on the work of MECPATHS, explore our work in greater detail and to discuss opportunities to become involved. Extended appreciation to The Provincial Team for their support and to Marie Cox for her tremendous help coordinating the preparation.

Pictured: Members of PLT, Northern Province; Sisters of Mercy, Northern Province; Srs. Mary Ryan and Patricia O’ Donovan (Founding Members of MECPATHS), Ann Mara, MECPATHS Education Coordinator, Aisling Murray MECPATHS Volunteer Coordinator and JP O’ Sullivan, Communications/Research Coordinator, MECPATHS.

Soul Waves Radio Interview

Miriam Gormally met with Ann Mara and JP O’Sullivan from MECPATHS and spoke to them about the award and how hotel staff can play a key role in the fight against this form of slavery, as their profession are amongst the most likely to encounter a victim of sex trafficking. JP began by explaining why the award was so significant…


Congratulations to our partner PREM Group

MECPATHS are extremely proud to congratulate our partner PREM Group who were recognised for their tremendous efforts to counter child trafficking in Ireland, Belgium, The United Kingdom and France. PREM Group, who manage over 40 hotels across Europe from city centre budget properties to serviced apartments and luxury country resorts, have been working with MECPATHS since 2017 to design a bespoke staff education programme to raise awareness on child trafficking and sexual exploitation. This education programme was rolled out earlier this month to their full staff team in Ireland as part of their mandatory induction and training.

At The HR Champion Awards hosted at The Guinness Storehouse, in partnership with William Fry, on March 23rd, PREM Group received a standing ovation for their work with MECPATHS and were awarded the Champion Corporate Social Responsibility Award.

Speaking on behalf of MECPATHS, Ann Mara, Education Coordinator says “Their excellence in innovative leadership, global and national change delivery, and conscious global citizenship, is a pleasure to observe. We applaud their commitment to delivering life-changing, safer environments for some of the world’s most vulnerable individuals. As industry leaders in the hospitality sector, PREM has elevated the protection and safeguarding of vulnerable individuals as a core part of their mission. Their development of a mandatory staff training programme to help counter sex trafficking is truly commendable and an exemplary resource for other accommodation providers within Ireland and beyond. The direct impact on their employees is immediate and valuable; their impact on the world around us, invaluable.  We are incredibly proud to be their partner for change”.

“As leaders of change in Ireland, PREM Group have demonstrated what it is to be community-aware, active global citizens and models of modern advocacy. We look forward to supporting many other industry leaders to reach out in a similar way to ensure children are protected, globally” comments MECPATHS Communications Coordinator, JP O’ Sullivan.

MECPATHS and PREM Group continue to reach new partnership heights in 2018.

MECPATHS was founded to deliver Child Protection efforts Against Trafficking in partnership with The Hospitality Sector and is proud to partner with many industry leaders to deliver education and safe environments for all. For further information, please contact the MECPATHS Team.