Evoke: Ann Mara’s mission


After travelling the world, spending time in America, Kenya and South Africa, Irish woman Ann Mara returned to Ireland in 2016, where she began to work with MECPATHS (Mercy Efforts for Child Protection Against Trafficking with the Hospitality and Services Sector). This organisation is the only non-profit in the Republic of Ireland that raises awareness of the presence of human trafficking activity in the country which is more prolific than many people know.

It works specifically in the area of trafficking of children for exploitation, teaching people how to identify and report it. During her time with the organisation, Ann has seen some harrowing cases, from physical abuse to forced labour and sexual abuse of young children.

Ann tells EVOKE human trafficking has been a growing issue on our shores. ‘Human trafficking, which includes child trafficking, is a human rights issue that is growing in prevalence across the globe, and Ireland is not immune to this crime,’ she explains.

You can read the full feature here

Ireland’s Ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

“The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone TD’s call for the ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Protocol details important safeguarding measures for children and young people from offences including child trafficking, child abuse material (referred to in the Protocol as child pornography) and child prostitution”.

Read full release from The Children’s Rights Alliance here


Kevin Hyland O.B.E. joins MECPATHS for WMOF

MECPATHS were extremely proud to be part of The World Meeting of Families 2018 at The RDS (Royal Dublin Society) during the gathering of families from all around the world.

A unique opportunity to speak with parents, community leaders, community stakeholders and law enforcement offices, the 3-day programme additionally presented us with a wonderful platform to deliver a workshop in partnership with APT.

We were joined by Kevin Hyland OBE who was the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and has recently joined ChildFund Ireland as their CEO. Kevin’s vast experience of working to counter Modern Slavery provided a strength of understanding for many of the 700 attendees who were not aware of the extend of Human Trafficking, nor of its presence here in Ireland which was framed by Ann Mara at the workshop.

The workshop provided a platform also for us to introduce ‘Maya’, a survivor of child-trafficking. Maya, now an adult, detailed her early years trapped in cycles of abuse and control. An extremely eloquent young person, Maya’s presence provided all attendees with an injection of reality which many of us will never encounter. We were extremely grateful to her for sharing her story and for the hard work she undertakes to help prevent others being trapped.

Thank you to all the attendees and MECPATHS Volunteers who gave of their time by attending.


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 info@mecpaths.ie

You can listen to Ann’s Interview here: