MECPATHS is a social justice response to the growing prevalence of Human Trafficking (also known as Modern Day Slavery) and the exploitation of people, in Ireland. We collaborate closely with private, statutory and non-statutory agencies and organisations working to counter Human Trafficking including An Garda Síochána and The Department of Justice.

The project was initiated by two Sisters of Mercy, Srs. Patricia O’ Donovan and Mary Ryan, in 2013 and has evolved to employ two members of staff with the day-to-day responsibility for operations. Patricia O’ Donovan rsm rejoined the team on a part-time basis in September 2019 and Mary Ryan RSM continues to meet with the core team quarterly.

“The Congregation of The Sisters of Mercy is committed to responding, where possible, to the global injustice of the trafficking of persons on the island of Ireland. MECPATHS (Mercy Efforts for Child Protection against Trafficking with the Hospitality and Services Sectors) was set up specifically for this purpose. A key response to this serious issue is education, advocacy and awareness raising around its reality today. A further response is determined by the specific situation and should take the form of appropriate referral to official bodies e.g. statutory bodies. The collaborative nature of our work is most effective and we are grateful for the responsiveness of the communities with whom we work.” (The Congregational Leadership Team of The Congregation of The Sisters of Mercy, 2020).

Anti-Human Trafficking training is currently being delivered across the country for front-line professionals working in the areas of healthcare, social work, law enforcement and immigration.  MECPATHS is the only project in Ireland dedicated to supporting the Hospitality Industry and Services Sectors and has forged many positive and stead-fast working relationships with hoteliers and hotel groups since its inception.


“We were introduced to MECPATHS last year by the Irish Hotels Federation. We were so shocked by the statistics for human trafficking for Ireland that we felt we had to do something to try to prevent it happening. The more awareness there is of this social problem, the more progress can be made in dismantling this multi-billion criminal industry. All our team members in Ireland now know the signs that could be an indication of child sex trafficking taking place and, most importantly, they know how to report their suspicions.” Sarah Marr, Group Human Resources Manager, PREM Group, Ireland and UK

“We in the hospitality industry and related education sector, therefore, have a huge responsibility in raising awareness around this issue. Training our staff on what warning signs they can be looking out for and how we can all take steps to help counteract this growing worldwide problem. MECPATHS are currently doing some incredible work on this front and have been running very effective workshops with all our first year students here in Shannon over the past year”. Dr. Phillip J Smyth, Head of College, Shannon College of Hotel Management.


Ann Mara

Education Manager

J.P. O’Sullivan

Networks & Communications Manager

Patricia O’ Donovan rsm

Congregational Coordinator & Founding Member

Mary Ryan rsm

Founding Member