By Vatican News
The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols is urging the British Government to ensure that its response to modern slavery is constantly addressed, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
He is also inviting Catholics to support organisations working directly to help those “suffering the evil of slavery.”
The Cardinal notes that “while all our families and communities are affected, those held in slavery cannot self-isolate, social distance or receive medical care. Even in the midst of this crisis, human beings in our own country and overseas are still being exploited by criminals with contempt for their dignity or even health.”
He also points out that, “women and girls trapped in sexual exploitation are at particular risk.”
Underlining that the scale of this challenge is unprecedented, Cardinal Nichols says that the pandemic "is placing enormous pressure on the resources of police forces and civil society, reducing their capacity to rescue people from slavery and care for survivors.”
He adds that “immigration detention centres, where survivors of modern slavery often find themselves, remain operating at great risk to all those detained.”
The Cardinal emphasizes that, “we all have a responsibility to protect these vulnerable people", and asks for the intercession of St Josephine Bakhita, patron Saint of Human Trafficking survivors, for all those affected by this crime.