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Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
World News

Papal conference to work on eradicating slavery

by Tola Mbakwe

In a speech on Thursday, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster said it will be a time to "build partnerships of trust between police forces and resources of the Catholic Church".

The Santa Marta conference will take place in Vatican City from 8th - 9th February with police chiefs and Catholic church leaders from more than 30 different nations.

Nichols added: "In many cases the religious women in the Catholic Church, are the ones that actually know what's going on. These are brave, courageous women who spend their time on the streets, looking people up."

Nichols explained the importance of collaboration in eliminating modern day slavery.

"If we can get cooperation, then not only are victims rescued, but also traffickers are arrested and prosecuted," he said.

"I met a 60-year-old Afghan woman who for the last 30 years had been in domestic slavery in a house in London and for those 30 years, she had slept only and always under the kitchen table."

The Santa Marta Group is an alliance of international police chiefs and bishops from around the world working together with civil society in a process endorsed by Pope Francis, to eradicate human trafficking and modern day slavery.

The Pope describes trafficking as "an open wound on the body of contemporary society".

According to, only 1 per cent of enslaved people in the UK have the chance of seeing their exploiter brought to justice.

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