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'Ireland must do more to stop human trafficking' - Archbishop Martin

“Many of those who are trafficked and who live in small Irish communities feel trapped in a world which is heavily controlled.”

Pope Francis and Archbishop Martin
Pope Francis and Archbishop Martin

ARCHBISHOP OF DUBLIN Diarmuid Martin has said that communities must do more to help combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Ireland.

Martin said such issues are global concerns, but also very real at a local level.

“The problem of human trafficking is a worldwide challenge. Very often, however, when we think of a challenge as being worldwide, we immediately think that it is a problem that exists somewhere else and not close to us. We must be very clear: human trafficking is a real problem in Ireland today.”

The Archbishop said that while it is “difficult to establish the real extent of human trafficking” here, it is a problem that needs to be addressed.

It does exist and it exists right down to smaller communities across the country. Hidden in Irish society there is a serious problem of people who are the victims of trafficking.

Martin said he is part of an initiative supported by Pope Francis called The Santa Marta Group, composed of Church leaders and police leaders in various parts of the world including an Garda Síochána, in this regard.

While police authorities are taking a lead in the area of trafficking there is also a real responsibility of Church and voluntary organisations to address the problem. Local communities have a role to play. The indications are that even in smaller Irish communities there are cases of trafficking in the area of sexual exploitation, in the area of labour exploitation, in the exploitation of maritime workers and even in the exploitation of children.Many of those who are trafficked and who live in small Irish communities feel trapped in a world which is heavily controlled.

Martin said it is “easy” for people to ignore the issue, but not acceptable.

“How can we tolerate that the practice of human trafficking can go on under our noses not just in our anonymous large cities but even in small communities?,” he asked.

Martin was speaking at a mass in Dublin to mark World Day of Peace when he made the comments.

Islamic State

Bishop of Cork and Ross John Buckley used his homily at a service in Cork city to speak about religious persecution, particularly at the hands of the Islamic State militant group.

“We have all seen the horrific scenes of violence and persecution on television and the dreadful images of executions perpetrated by ISIS. Religious freedom is at the heart of human rights.

“Today, in too many countries, people are being killed and persecuted for their religious beliefs. Turning to violence in the name of religion is a perversion of everything that a religion stands for,” Buckley stated.

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Órla Ryan

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