Combating modern-day slavery

Human trafficking: Card. Nichols presents next meeting of Santa Marta Group. Audience with the Pope on 27 October

“Human trafficking is an international crime and it requires a co-ordinated international response. The Santa Marta Group aims to forge relationships of trust between police and the Church, especially Religious Sisters, which enable this crime to be defeated and the victims of trafficking to be accompanied, assisted and ultimately reintegrated into society”. Card. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Santa Marta Group, used these words to explain the meaning of this initiative, launched by Pope Francis in 2014 in the wake of a long and effective partnership between the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and London’s Metropolitan Police. The fourth meeting of the Group will take place in Rome on 26-27 October and will be attended by bishops, religious sisters, police chiefs and people committed to combating human trafficking across the world. The delegates will “report back to Pope Francis the progress that has been made” since the foundation of the Group two years ago, when “the 24 police chiefs present committed to developing partnerships with the Church and civil society to bring to justice those who are responsible for the horrendous crime of trafficking and to alleviate the suffering of the victims”, a statement released by the Secretariat of the Group ( explains. The aim of the meeting is to share “best practices” in the struggle against this modern form of slavery. A document containing operational instructions will also be released. The Group will meet Pope Francis on 27 October.