On Monday 8th February 2021 around 100 people came together to reflect and pray on the subject of refugees, migration and modern slavery. The event was joined by Bishop Declan Lang and Bishop Mark O’Toole.

Bishop Declan reminded us that ‘trafficking and the problem of refugees is a world problem and not just the problem of a few countries and it affects our own country as well.’  St. Josephine Bakhita’s story reminds us of the Church’s commitment against slavery of any form and in particular the need to care for and look after unaccompanied young people. ‘Open our eyes that we may see the needs of others. Open our ears that we may hear their cries. Open our hearts that we may feel their anguish and their joy’.

Bishop Mark invited people to reflect on the Parable of the Good Samaritan and allow it to ‘challenge each of us to make a decision about how we include or exclude those who are being trafficked or trapped in modern slavery…those lying in the ditch along the roadside’.  In his final blessing, he asked the Lord to ‘wake us from the slumber of indifference. Open our eyes to their suffering and free us from the insensitivity borne of worldly comfort or self-centredness.’ The starting point for us individually and as a human community is to cultivate “a fraternal openness that allows us to acknowledge, appreciate and love each person, regardless of physical proximity, regardless of where he or she was born or lives.”

It can be hard to know how to reach out to our Brothers and Sisters. Our guest speakers offered a range of ideas about how we can reach out to those in need in practical and simple ways (and there is a link to some useful resources at the end of this document).

Refugees and Migrants

  • Consider what practical actions you and your parish can do to help refugees.
  • Write to your MP or local representatives to raise one of the campaigns you have researched, or another issue faced by refugees.
  • Partner with a local charity – collections for items, information – in the Church/online, volunteering links.
  • Share the stories of refugees and amplify their voices.

Modern Slavery

  1. REPORT IT! If you have any suspicions – take action (e.g. Crimestoppers).
  2. Download and use the Clewer Apps and promote them among vulnerable communities.
  3. Arrange modern slavery training for your church or community (Clewer can provide specialist training packs and train the trainer sessions tailored to your context).
  4. Volunteers are needed for a new victim support project in Somerset – further details from Caritas Clifton.

Work with us

If you would like to get more involved in any of these issues or volunteer with Caritas, please contact us. We will be holding some more action-oriented discussions this year and would love your input!

Caritas Clifton: stephendhicks@hotmail.com 07477 781517

Caritas Plymouth: caritas@prcdtr.org.uk 01364 645421

There are a range of helpful links in our resource guide CLICK HERE