Cardinal Vincent Nichols joined staff and pupils at Cardinal Pole school in Hackney, East London, on 8 February at a special assembly for victims of trafficking and those who combat it.
The feast day of St Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of victims of human trafficking, has a special resonance for Cardinal Pole School with one of its four school communities named in her honour. The school also raises money for Caritas Westminster’s Bakhita Project.
Cardinal Nichols addressed the assembly after prayers and readings from scripture, telling of the progress being made in the struggle against human trafficking, both at Bakhita House which cares for victims of trafficking and most especially in the work of the Santa Marta Group. This collaborative work between Church and police is growing with the establishment of a major project with the government in Edu State in Nigeria, a major centre of human trafficking. With this work continuing internationally, the Cardinal also called on the pupils to play their part.
“People may not be aware of human trafficking taking place in our midst. See what is happening around us. Stay awake and have eyes that are open as you do not know the day or the hour that you see God’s Grace in the world or you become aware of the evil in the world.”
The assembly concluded with the Cardinal blessing the Holy Door in the school in this Jubilee Year of Mercy.