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Human trafficking: Card. Nichols, “42 million victims in the world”, “build bridges of cooperation” locally, nationally and internationally

The “darkest face of globalisation” – this is how Card. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, President of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, and President of the “Santa Marta Group”, called the phenomenon of human trafficking and other “modern” forms of slavery – which was the focus of the fifth annual meeting of the Group that ended today – as he welcomed the Pope in the Clementine Hall. The prelate called it a “great challenge”, thanking the Pope for his “support” and explaining that the Group is committed, first and foremost, to deepening “our cooperation, to promote truly local awareness and responsibility” also by creating “partnerships” as those developed in Argentina, Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. The other goal of the Group is to urge Governments to “keep before their eyes the faces” of the new slaves, to make sure they “prosecute the perpetrators of these evil and brutal crimes”. The fifth meeting of the Santa Marta Group – Card. Nichols announced at a press conference in the Vatican Press Office on the international body against human trafficking launched by Pope Francis in 2014 – was attended by a hundred people from 30 countries engaged in the fight against human trafficking and in supporting victims. “42 million people around the world are victims of human trafficking – Card. Nichols recalled – and this tragedy has never been greater”. Among the new slaves, Card. Nichols mentioned the 44 million seafarers who are being exploited on fishing vessels all over the world. We are working to free them by building “bridges of cooperation at local, national and international levels”. Then there is the relationship between countries of origin and countries of destination: “We should never think that a country is just a country of destination; indeed, it is often also a country of origin, from which people intended for new forms of slavery depart”, Card. Nichols noted.

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