Each October, Europe takes time to pause, to turn our attention to those who are caught in worlds of Human Trafficking and those whose lives have been challenged, affected and fractured by exploitation for the purpose of generating a profit.

This year, MECPATHS were extremely proud to partner with The Department of Justice and Equality to mark EU Anti Trafficking Day, October 18th, to raise awareness, to discuss and to collaborate and to bring the issue of Modern Day Slavery ‘to the courts’.

In 1845, Frederick Douglass delivered a moving oration in Cork, a call for our shared global community to respond to the issue of Slavery and to reflect and act. In 2019, MECPATHS were proud to re-deliver his message and to call for the recognition that, as time moves quickly, little can change. MECPATHS called for a recognition that Ireland has a modern-day challenge on its doorstep and that we need to collaborate more effectively and efficiently to respond to the need.

We were extremely proud to open the occasion with a recording of Frederick Douglass’ original speech which was delivered in the same Court House as where he once stood. We were exceptionally grateful to President Michael D. Higgins who sent a special message to all in attendance and to the students from Mount Mercy College, Cork, who volunteered their time to help the event run smoothly.

Speakers on the evening were Assistant Commissioner, An Garda Síochána, John O’ Driscoll, Minister David Stanton, The President of UCC; Professor Patrick O’ Shea, Cork Sexual Violence Centre founder and Anti-Trafficking advocate Mary Crilly, Senator Jerry Buttimer, Kevin Hyland O.B.E. and JP O’ Sullivan from MECPATHS. The evening’s message was clear “We refuse to allow Human Trafficking to find a home here in Ireland, we can not turn a blind-eye to exploitation and trafficking, we simply cannot do this” commented JP O’ Sullivan. Ann Mara of MECPATHS added “we have a very serious justice and human rights issue here in Ireland in the form of Human Trafficking, we need to collectively recognise it and to respond to it, the victims of trafficking who call Ireland their home rely on us for their freedom”.

The event moved from the Court House at 7pm to St. Peter’s on North Main Street where a special message from Cork’s Lord Mayor, Cllr. John Sheehan, was delivered and guests were invited to reflect through a reception of song by The UCC choir, who opened with a moving rendition of Amazing Grace.

MECPATHS were extremely proud to lead the evening and are grateful to Cork for the welcoming reception and for our membership of Cork Against Human Trafficking who lead change and discourse.

If you would like to learn more about our work or the occasion, please contact us directly.

With appreciation to all in attendace for your support.

Message from President Michael D. Higgins

Frederick Douglass’ oration (recorded by voice artist for the occasion)