Crawley’s St Philip Howard Centre hosted a conference on human trafficking and modern slavery on Saturday.
Bishop Richard Moth, welcoming more than 150 people to the conference on behalf of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, saying it should be a steeping stone for further work in the Diocese on this issue.
The first speaker was Richard Lancashire, the Sussex Modern Slavery Manager for Sussex Police.
He called modern slavery ‘a hidden crime in plain view’, saying that we all need to be aware and vigilant to help the police and others tackle this crime.
Currently more British rather than foreign nationals are being trafficked. He encouraged people to contact the police and the Modern Slavery Helpline if we suspect anything.
Other speakers included Mick Duthie of the Santa Marta Group which was set up by Pope Francis to bring the Church and law enforcement agencies together to tackle the scourge of human trafficking.
Mick, who is formerly a senior London Met police officer, is now Deputy Director of the Santa Marta Group.
He is responsible for the creation and development of local networks across diocese in England and Wales and beyond by bring senior police and church leaders together to eradicate modern slavery.
He spoke of the wonderful work being done by Catholic religious sisters in tackling this issue and working with the police.
The work in this country is part of a worldwide network to tackle issue facilitated by the Catholic Church.
‘Tackle this modern scourge’
Tessa Ricketts, Social Action Adviser for the Diocese said: “I was very pleased not only by how many came to the conference but also the content of the day.
“The conference clearly informed those present from our Diocese about how we as the local Church in Surrey and Sussex can be part of the initiative of Pope Francis to tackle this modern scourge and bring an end to Human Trafficking.”
See also: Rise in knife and gun crime in Crawley