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Diocese of Arundel and Brighton News Item

Successful Conference in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

The Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, covering Sussex and Surrey hosted a successful Conference on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery at the St Philip Howard Centre in Crawley on Saturday 26 with over 150 people in attendance.

Bishop Richard Moth of the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton attended the conference and welcomed the speakers. He is clear that this is conference is a steeping stone for further work in the Diocese on this issue. In this way the local Church is able to support the important work Pope Francis has called the Catholic Church to do in tackling Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery.

The first speaker was Richard Lancashire, the Sussex Modern Slavery Manager for Sussex police. A former policeman he brought his expertise working as a policeman in Modern slavery and Organised Immigration Crime. He said that it is “A hidden crime in plain view!” This means we all need to be aware and vigilant to help the Police and others tackle this crime. Currently more British rather than foreign nationals are being trafficked. He encouraged people to contact the Police for whom it is a national priority, and the Modern Slavery Helpline if we suspect anything.

Other speakers included Mick Duthie of the Santa Marta Group which was set up by Pope Francis to bring the Church and law enforcement agencies together to tackle the scourge of human trafficking. Mick who is formerly a senior London Met police force and is now Deputy Director of the Santa Marta Group. He is responsible for the creation and development of local networks across diocese in England and Wales and beyond by bring senior police and church leaders together to eradicate modern slavery. He is particular spoke of the wonderful work being done by Catholic religious sisters (nuns) in tackling this issue and working with the Police. The work in this country is part of a worldwide network to tackle issue facilitated by the Catholic Church.

A third speaker was Sr Pat Mulhall, a Brigidine sister working on Human Trafficking since 2003 who is part of that network of religious sisters working to tackle this issue in this country and across the world. She helped found TRAC UK to educate, advocate and campaign on behalf of victims. Currently she works at Bakhita House in London which houses, supports and works with women who have been trafficked.

The final key speaker was Deacon Roger Stone who was the Apostleship of the Sea Port Chaplain for Southampton and the south coast of England. During his ministry with Apostleship of the Sea, Roger had encountered many different challenging problems but helping victims of human trafficking and modern slavery ranks high among the most difficult and important. He says the Church has a key role as body that seafarers in difficulty can trust as they are often distrustful of the state authorities who try to help them.

In the afternoon there where be a number of further short talks and inputs around various justice issues relating to Human Trafficking.

Tessa Ricketts, Social Action Adviser for the Diocese said: “I was very pleased not only by how many came to the conference but also the content of the day. The conference clearly informed those present from our Diocese about how we as the local Church in Surrey and Sussex can be part of the initiative of Pope Francis to tackle this modern scourge and bring an end to Human Trafficking.”