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Shay Cullen
Fr Shay Cullen, human rights activist
Passion and Power
Fr Cullen's recent book

Internal News - 24 October 2007

Lecture: Modern slavery & children's rights

Human rights activist Father Shay Cullen will deliver the seventh Meriol Trevor Memorial Lecture on Thursday 25 October at 7.15pm.

Entitled 'Modern Slavery & Children's Rights' the lecture will contain allusions to Meriol Trevor on "beauty and hope emerging out of their very opposites" whilst focussing on what is being done in practical terms to mobilise world opinion and challenge authorities to address the issue of slavery nowadays.

Meriol Trevor's children's books have certain themes that have resonances with the work of human rights activist, Father Shay Cullen, who is a Catholic priest member of the Missionary Congregation of Columban Fathers working in the Philippines for justice for children and child care workers.

Fr Cullen's recently published book Passion & Power relates his arrival in Olongapo City in the Philippines in 1969 where he discovered horrific sexual exploitation and the abuse of thousands of women and children enslaved in sub-human conditions. Swarms of hungry and abandoned street children roamed the streets, many were on drugs; he found some had been sold as sex slaves, whilst others, only six years old, were behind bars. Thousands of child workers suffered abuse, disease and neglect.

He set out to free the children and women from these dehumanising and slave-like conditions and founded the People's Recovery Empowerment Development Assistance (PREDA) Foundation to save them. With his Filipino team, Fr Shay has rescued thousands of children from drugs, brothels and prisons.

Fr Cullen works to protect youth and child victims by providing them with protection and therapy, and by bringing their abusers to justice.

PREDA is an internationally known organisation and Fr Shay has received three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize in the recent past.

At the start of this anniversary year marking the abolition of the slave trade, Fr Cullen gave the Wilberforce Lecture at Hull and took part in a special commemoration of the abolition of the Slave Trade held at the House of Lords on May Day 2007.

The lecture will take place in 2East 3.1, admission is free. If you intend to attend, it would be helpful (as a guide to numbers) if you could email

The lecture is being presented by the Catholic Chaplaincy to universities & higher education in Bath during One World Week.


Meriol Trevor was born on 15 April 1919, of Welsh extraction. She went to school in Cambridge and university in Oxford. She was made a Fellow of the Royal Society for Literature in 1967.