The theme of the Webinar was ‘Human Trafficking amidst Covid-19’. Representatives from 26 countries joined in their hundreds as a panel of International speakers addressed the challenges faced in their home countries. MECPATHS was represented by Ann and JP and the theme of collaboration, which MECPATHS champions, was clear throughout the Webinar.
An opening address by Mary Crilly founder of Cork Against Human Trafficking (CAHT) outlined the reason for bringing people together on this occasion and was an encouraging beginning of proceedings. JP spoke about the work of MECPATHS, some of the challenges faced in Ireland in relation to The National Referral Mechanism and particularly the challenges faced in relation to Child Trafficking and responsiveness.
Kevin Hyland, former First Anti-Slavery Commissioner in The UK & currently Ireland’s representative to The Council of Europe’s GRETA (Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings), addressed key challenges facing the world today, how far-spread Human Trafficking & Modern Day Slavery are and his own vast experience of working to counter Human Rights’ abuses.
Lori Cohen, CEO of ECPAT USA, addressed their work in present times and the innovative ways in which they are now working to keep children safe. Lori outlined her organisations particular efforts in relation to online-safety and the range of materials now available from ECPAT to support parents/guardians in their efforts to protect children.
Garry Smith, CEO of The Medaille Trust, spoke about the work his organisation is currently undertaking as the largest supplier of Safe-Housing in The UK. An inside view of the reality of lockdown was presented and the vast efforts of The Medaille Trust to maintain a normality for those availing of their services amidst Covid-19.
Dr. Siobhan Mullally, Established Professor of Human Rights Law and Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, address the issue of Human Trafficking from a European perspective with a very strong and clear outline of the impact of current legal structures on the safety of children and how laws impact on their lives as victims.
Mary Crilly closed the Webinar with an impactful reminder that everyone can do something to counter Human Trafficking and encouraged everyone to keep the conversation going. You can help to keep the conversation going by sharing the video link to the Webinar recording.