Last Saturday around 160 people from the Diocese attended the Justice and Peace Assembly at the St Philip Howard Centre (DABCEC) on the theme of “Human Trafficking: Slavery on our Doorstep.”
A very interesting talk was given by Richard Lancashire from Sussex Police about ‘What is Modern day Slavery which is often hidden from plain view. It could be happening to people working as car washers, in care homes, cleaning hospitals etc. He emphasised that although some of them may think they were better off in this country, it was unacceptable practice to exploit them for miserable wages. People were encouraged to contact the Police and the Modern Slavery Helpline – if they suspected exploitation.
Mick Duthie, Deputy Director of Santa Marta Group spoke about ‘The Church and Law Enforcement Combating Modern Slavery’ and the great work being done by the Catholic religious sisters in tackling the issue to overcome modern day slavery in conjunction with the police. Pope Francis instigated the Santa Marta Group to bring the Church and law enforcement agencies together.
Sr. Pat Mulhall (Brigidine) who works at Bakhita House in London spoke movingly about the work of supporting women victims who have been trafficked. Deacon Roger Stone who was the Apostleship of the Sea Port Chaplain for Southampton highlighted the challenging problems of helping victims of human trafficking but of the necessity for the Church to play a key role in supporting them.
John Paul de Quay (Ecological Conversion Group/Social Action Commission) ran some thought provoking workshops challenging us to look at every aspect of our lives and how it effects others and the earth. Although the problems that the world faces may seem insurmountable and our efforts insignificant; every little bit helps – he reminded as to do all things well – even recycling!
There were many stalls representing a wide variety of charities and it was clear to see how each one is meeting a need in our society today. Furthermore, there was a fairtrade stall with a huge array of fairtrade goods to buy. I enjoyed chatting to people about CAFOD and was very impressed to see so many of our CAFOD parish volunteers at ‘The Assembly.’
Should you wish to find out more about volunteering for CAFOD please visit our website.