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Institute of Our Lady of Mercy (UK) Update for MGA Trafficking/Prostitution Working Group, September 2016

September 23, 2016

This activity/involvement is mostly undertaken in or through women@thewell (w@w), which whilst being an independent charity was initially seed funded by IOLM and continues to get considerable support from them both as direct financial funding and through the rent free use and upkeep the building, additionally IOLM are involved at all levels in the mission i.e. governance/trusteeship, staffing (I am CEO), volunteers and commitment to providing an onsite resident community.

Service Delivery
• We continue to provide service delivery through the provision of a daily direct access women-only, drop-in centre based at Kings Cross, dedicated to supporting women whose lives are affected by or at risk of being affected by prostitution and othr forms of sexual exploitation. Most women who use our services have multiple and complex needs including:
•problematic drug and alcohol abuse
•mental health difficulties
•rough sleeping
w@w provides a trauma-informed, holistic response to the needs of these women in a creative and supportive environment which is informed by Gospel values. We work with them to enable them to develop appropriate and sustainable exit strategies from multiple cycles of abuse.
• Successfully obtaining significant funding from the Big Lottery has enabled us to expand our services and develop an outreach team which includes Romanian and Russian speaking staff. It is also allowing us to develop further our partnership with the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Trafficking Unit. Additionally money has been built into the funding to work with Anglia Ruskin University to build effective evaluation tools and explore further our model of support and psychotherapeutic intervention.
• We continue to work toward developing services to provide supported employment and training to women who are exiting prostitution and/or are victims of sex trafficking. To which end we

Networking and Partnerships

- We participated in the 'Shifting the Burden' Sex Trade Survivors Symposium in July and presented on 'The Reality on the Ground'
• Partnership with SPACE International is flourishing. Rachel Moran has become an Ambassador for w@w and we will announcing it formally during an event in Parliament around the UN end violence against women day in November
• ARISE FOUNDATION – I’m a trustee of newly established trust fund set up to partner local networks to stop human trafficking – our first grants will be focused on prevention and we are actively involved with religious sisters working at the grassroots.
• GLOBAL NOTICE BOARD – we are working with Global Notice Board to develop a reporting tool and app fit for purpose in relation to grassroots trafficking projects across the world - which will collect data, report incidents and enable a communications platform – to that end we will launch a new website through that portal later in the year.
Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution - CAP International – preparing for “The Last Girl”: international conference and workshops in New Delhi, India, 29 January - 1 February 2017
• CARITAS – vice chair of trustees for Caritas Social Action Network, the domestic arm of Caritas in England and Wales, took part in working groups of Caritas Europa, attended conference in Nigeria – Caritas Africa and Pontifical Council on Migrants looking at trafficking in Africa with particular focus on Edo State in Nigeria. Also COATNET
RENATE – preparing to attend assembly in Rome in early November – have other meetings with the Holy See planned around it so in Rome for first two weeks of November
National Board of Catholic Women - NBCW – as international rep for NBCW I am now the link to WUCWO and ANDANTE so have had conversations with them about their current focus on trafficking to explore how we can enhance their work through our grassroots experience.
European Women’s Lobby (EWL) – Continue to support their campaign for a Europe Free from Prostitution.
• UK NGO CSW Alliance – in preparation for CSW 61 working collectively developing position papers, looking at a preparing a 4 Nations overview given the different legislative arenas etc. in the devolved nations albeit Westminster holds the UN/EU accountability.
EUROPEAN FREEDOM NETWORK – faith based alliance – primarily Evangelical – linking grassroots services across Europe – useful for referrals – have been supporting them to build capacity around advocacy

• We continue to contribute to and engage in local, national and international debate, research and policy development; challenging the demand for the sexual exploitation of women and promote effective exiting services.
• As part of our evidence building and advocacy in relation to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s review of prostitution legislation, we organised with our partners SPACE International a very well attended and successful joint event in UK Parliament in July – programme attached.
• Preparation for CSW 61 etc. – building on successful events with Holy See and SPACE International this year we are planning to run events In New York this year linked to priority theme “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work” We hope one will relate to PREVENTION - importance of providing realistic alternative opportunities for employment and training and a second focussed on PROSTITUTION – final focus still being explored.

Messages to: Lynda Dearlove rsm