Join us for a lunchtime webinar to explore the links between orphanages, volunteering, and trafficking.

What connects orphanages, international volunteering, and child trafficking?

Join this webinar to find out.

Hosted by the Comhlámh End Orphanage Volunteering Campaign, this event will bring together global care reform campaigners, anti-child trafficking experts, and care leaver self-advocates to share their lived experience, knowledge, and expertise.

The speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. We are delighted to be working with inspiring people from organisations who have a long-term commitment to building a child-safe future, including Hope and Homes for Children and MECPATHS.

Attendees will learn more about how volunteering in orphanages and institutional models of care can have serious unintended consequences for vulnerable children, including putting them at a high risk of exploitation and being trafficked. Furthermore, the event will explore what is being done at a national and European Union level to respond to the root causes of child institutionalisation and to strengthen child protection and anti-child trafficking systems across member states and partner countries.

Come along to learn, to be challenged, and to be inspired to take action.

Register below.



Irina Papancheva is an EU Senior Advocacy Advisor at Hope and Homes for Children. Previously, she managed the EU advocacy at Lumos for ten years. She has been working in children and disability rights and social inclusion for overall twenty years at national, EU and international level, including as a Deputy Mayor of Sofia Municipality for Social Services, Health Care and Integration of Persons with Disabilities. Irina Papancheva holds an MA in European Politics and Social Integration from Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). 

Ms. Katharina Thon is a Programme and Capacity Building Officer at the OSCE Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking of Human Beings where she is inter alia leading the child trafficking portfolio. Before joining the OSCE, she worked as a Child protection officer at UNICEF and as an Associate Child protection officer within the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York. Prior to her assignment at the UN, she worked for SOS Children’s Villages Austria, Child Welfare South Africa, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary -General on Violence against Children and the German Children Fund. Ms. Thon holds a Master’s Degree in Social Science from the University of Bielefeld. 

JP O’Sullivan is a professional social worker with vast experience of working in Anti Child Trafficking. JP spent his early professional years working in Adult Mental Health, Child Safeguarding, Protection and Advocacy with extended periods of time in South Asia. He joined MECPATHS in 2018 and has been key in Strategic and Action Planning. A strong networker, JP alongside his colleague, Ann Mara, have been influential in bringing the issue of Child Trafficking into mainstream discourse and in supporting statutory & non-profit agencies to develop multi-disciplinary responses to the issue.  

This event is supported by the Communicating Europe Initiative at the Department of Foreign Affairs.