Dealing with human trafficking

Transformed by hope

Sister Eileen Keane writes about the Summer School she attended in Dromantine (the Retreat centre run by the SMA Fathers) where one of the speakers was Cardinal Vincent Nichols of the Diocese of Westminster.  In the course of a wide-ranging discussion, one of the topics he addressed was Human Trafficking.

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Work in this area was highlighted for the Cardinal when, in advance of the London Olympics, the Head of the Metropolitan police approached him asking for his cooperation and support in tackling this problem. Human trafficking is hugely lucrative. – (Profits for the biggest airlines in Britain are estimated at £40 billion per annum – profits of human for trafficking reach £100 billion per annum)

This police chief realized that the Church was best placed to deal with it and the Cardinal knew that women were the agents whom the Church could engage in rescuing women and finding refuge for them. A number of such religious groups are in existence, The Santa Marta group do this work in London.  It is hard work for the members of the group but it is marvelously efficient in establishing trust between the women being trafficked and the police, and they welcome being rescued. The women may be accommodated in a safe house for some weeks and frequently members of the group accompany the women to their homes, often in Eastern European countries.  The Head of the metropolitan police was asked by a journalist: “Why are you working with the Church?’ The Police chief replied ‘This vast network of trafficking is dedicated to evil; the Church is dedicated to doing good.” The Cardinal said he himself could not have said that, but the police chief could. Then the Cardinal added “It is the Sisters who can do this work.” It was very impressive to hear these words.

Sister Eileen Keane is an Irish Holy Rosary Sister who has worked in medicine in Sierra Leone, Zambia, and other countries in Africa.