Irish Bishops: we need to become the eyes, ears and voice for trafficked victims

27 Jun, 2024 | Bishops, Church, News, Pope

On 26 June, the Irish Bishops published a statement on Human Trafficking.  This statement coincides with the hosting of the Senior Leadership Summit on collectively Combatting Human Trafficking, held in University College Cork over 26 and 27 June, which was jointly hosted by An Garda Síochána and the Santa Marta Group.

Bishops said, “we welcome recent legislation to put the National Referral Mechanism on a statutory footing, along with other measures.  But legislation is only as good as the resources in place to implement it and to root out this awful crime.

“Human trafficking is wrong, it is illegal and it is sinful.  The State has a duty to empower people working in this area and, in the area of prevention and the prosecution of traffickers.  In this regard, there needs to be greater cooperation between the governments north and south on the island.  This is now even more urgent due the increased numbers of immigrants forced to come here from the UK. Clear lines of responsibility are necessary for countering trafficking and for the protection of victims and survivors.  We all have a responsibility to transform this situation; to end exploitation in our midst.”

Bishops continued, “trafficking often goes unseen.  It is often said that human trafficking is hidden in plain sight.  Therefore, we have a responsibility as a society to heighten our awareness of it.  Many groups, including Catholic-based groups such as APT (Act to Prevent Trafficking), and Stella Maris Apostleship of the Sea, are already working to counter human trafficking in Ireland.  Their work involves hands-on assistance of victims and includes awareness raising in the education, healthcare and hospitality sectors, and with security services and airport staff.”

Bishops concluded, “in wishing the Santa Marta gathering every blessing for its success, we commit ourselves and our local Churches to support those who work to combat this modern slavery.  We urge leaders in the spheres of business, politics and social affairs, and all of us as consumers, to put human dignity ahead of profit and gain.  If we close our eyes and ears, if we do nothing, we are guilty of complicity.

“We also ask people to pray for those suffering as a result of trafficking and to bring that prayer to action by becoming the eyes and ears – and the voice – that victims need in our midst.  It is never too late to take action.”

To read the full text of the Bishops’ statement on Human Trafficking click here.



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