A new initiative to help tackle modern slavery across the Diocese of East Anglia has been explored and volunteers to help tackle the problem are now being sought.
In January the Caritas East Anglia Commission, in the presence of Bishop Peter Collins, heard from the first members of a new group opposed to Modern Slavery in the Diocese. They intend to raise awareness of this “wound on the body of Christ” as Pope Francis has described it and are looking for volunteers to help to tackle the problem.
Cardinal Archbishop Vincent Nichols said of the victims of this abhorrent crime: “Their fate is not distant from us. Your awareness of this outrageous abuse of our fellow human beings is essential. For with awareness comes a determination to act. We can make modern slavery simply unacceptable.”
The Cardinal outlined several steps… educating communities to open their eyes to the ‘invisible reality of human trafficking and modern slavery in their midst.
Bishop Peter and the Commission members were told that in 2022, around East Anglia, 746 people were found enslaved and rescued. Worse still, that figure, was likely the tip of the iceberg. That there are an estimated further 4,500 souls left out there in our midst. They are yet unseen by us, their brothers and sisters in Christ. They are still in bondage in our Diocese.
Bishop Peter and others heard that these vulnerable, downtrodden outcasts, society’s underclass, so beloved by Jesus, were reported in local media as being found in our Diocese in many settings. They were found in domestic servitude, forced labour, (in factories, food processing, restaurant), forced prostitution, forced shop fraud.
They were found in organ harvesting, forced marriage, as children forced to carry drugs, or babies stolen and trafficked.
They are to be found also in care homes looking after our loved ones, they are there to be found on farms including cannabis farms, waste recycling and in nail bars.
They are still there to be found in car washes, forced marriage, forced begging; forced benefit fraud. They are there to be found in these places for up to eight years before we detect and report them.
Mark Little, (former Diocesan Finance Officer, who was awarded the MBE for his campaign against modern slavery) and Simon John (retired local solicitor) are looking for young and older volunteers with a heart, to help cut modern slavery in our diocese. Pope Francis wants us to “find” enslaved people.
All that means is learning, simply, to spot the signs and safely report them in UK to the Modern Slavery Helpline. The new group is looking for young & older volunteers. Please contact email@example.com
No previous knowledge or experience required, just a wish to end slavery in our diocese. All that is needed is a desire for justice, to set the downtrodden free, to be a voice for the voiceless.
The Santa Marta Group is an alliance of police chiefs and bishops from around the world working together with civil society to eradicate human trafficking and modern day slavery. It is a key component in the Church’s response to this evil crime. The President of the Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, is also President of the Santa Marta Group.
Visit its website: santamartagroup.org