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  • Sr Siobhán

A call to end modern slavery

My soul was pierced with sorrow one bitterly cold January morning in 2018 when I met ‘Joe’ a gentleman who sought refuge in the Medaille Safe House for trafficked men in Liverpool. The words ‘the eyes are the windows of the soul’ spring to mind as ‘Joe’s’ eyes reflected anguish, trauma, loss, grief, pain and physical illness. The abuse that he had suffered prior to his arrival in the safe house was etched across his face but the beauty of the inner man could not be thwarted as he smiled with gratitude as I offered to help him. ‘Joe’ is just one of thousands of men, women and children who are trafficked across the world each year and are exploited by the greed and idolatry of their fellow human beings. Profit and power supersede the rights of these vulnerable people as they are bought and sold, beaten and starved, assaulted and sexually abused as most of the world remains silent.

The authorities inform us that victims of human trafficking exist in every postcode in the U.K. This social abomination continues to rise. Home Office Law to support the rights of victims is complex and the wheels of progress move ever so slowly. Meanwhile the anguish of those who are led like ‘lambs to the slaughter’ grows every day. I was deeply impressed by the compassionate advocacy and care offered by my colleagues at Medaille. I also realised that a Case Worker role was not for me at this period in time and I switched over to a volunteer role which offers me the chance to raise awareness in my local community of the needs of this group of vulnerable people and support them in a different way.

Jesus was always on the side of the vulnerable. He challenged the authorities for their abuse of power and laid out clear guidelines about how a Master should treat his employees. He continues to remind us that we have a moral and ethical responsibility to be aware of and take positive action to support the vulnerable.

As we celebrate the Feast of St. Josephine Bakhita I invite you to consider how you may be a partaker in this life saving work:

Pray for all victims of human trafficking and those who support them.

Be part of a local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and be alert to any irregularities ‘comings and goings’ in your local area.

Write to your M.P requesting his intervention at Government level when Policies and Protocols to support all vulnerable groups are discussed.

Volunteer at a Safe House

Consider offering financial, clothing, bedding, toys or household goods to a Safe House Central Office for distribution to the Safe Houses.

Participate in Safe House fundraising activities.

We pray that through the intercession of St. Josephine Bakhita, all responsible for human trafficking will bow down to the God of Justice and set their captives free. May all victims know that ‘they are enrolled in the book of life and are called holy.’ (Isaiah 4:3)

© Siobhán O’Keeffe 2022, all rights reserved


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