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The Evening Standard joins the fight against modern slavery

Earlier in September, the Evening Standard and its sister website The Independent launched a special investigation into modern slavery in the UK in partnership with Anti-Slavery Commissioner Kevin Hyland. The campaign gathers together a panel of experts from business, law, philanthropy, media and religious organisations, to ‘come up with proposals for combating slavery around the world’, which will be presented at the February Santa Marta Group conference at the Vatican.
The campaign seeks to shine ‘a light on slavery in its [different] forms in the UK, showing readers what they can do to help and calling for specific action to fight the problem’.
The first round table, chaired by Cardinal Vincent at the offices of the Evening Standard, began with a testimony from a survivor of human trafficking, highlighting the importance of giving a voice to victims.
In an accompanying article, Cardinal Vincent explained that the work of the Santa Marta Group, which began with a gathering of bishops and police chiefs from 20 countries in 2014, has the support of Pope Francis, who said to the Cardinal: ‘You make sure this keeps going because this is far more use than most of the meetings I have to go to.’ The group continues to grow, with more bishops, police chiefs and government representatives joining the fight.
As the Cardinal explains, ‘with a mandate like that I am motivated, but at the heart of this are the victims of this cruel, cruel trade and we must always remember them and put them first’.
This investigation has the support of the Prime Minster, who spoke at the UN on 19th September about the UK’s effort to combat modern slavery. As the Evening Standard editorial made clear, ‘this is a London problem but also a global phenomenon’.
Cardinal Vincent has praised the campaign: ‘The Evening Standard has a unique reach. One hope for this investigation, and this think tank, is that we can help to alert all sectors – finance, business, government, media – as well as people in London and more widely, so we can help consolidate a response. We need to let people know what to look for, how to report it and how they can avoid giving business to these criminals. A person’s dignity is tied up with their work. If work is demeaning or exploitative it eats away at the core of that person, and their human dignity. ‘
In our own diocese, Caritas Bakhita House operates as a safe house for women who have been victims of human trafficking and modern slavery. Caritas is also working with local and Metropolitan Police to educate individuals and parishes about the signs and effects of slavery and what they can do about it.
If you would like to find out more please visit www.standard.co.uk/news/modern-slavery

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