RELIGIOUS LEADERS PLEDGE TO WORK TOGETHER TO END SLAVERY BY 2020

Pope Francis and leaders of other churches and religions signed a declaration pledging to work together to help end modern slavery in the world by 2020. He urged governments, businesses and all people of good will to join forces against this “crime against humanity.” Tens of millions of people are “in chains” because of human trafficking and forced labour, and it is leading to their “dehumanisation and humiliation,” the Pope said at the ceremony on 2 December, the U.N. Day for the Abolition of Slavery.  Every human person is born with the same dignity and freedom, and any form of discrimination that does not respect this truth “is a crime and very often an abhorrent crime,” the Pope said.

Inspired by their religious beliefs and a desire “to take practical action,” the Pope and 11 leaders representing the Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox, Anglican, Buddhist and Hindu faiths made a united commitment to help eradicate slavery worldwide. The leaders signed the joint declaration at the headquarters of Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Vatican Gardens. The signatories included: Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury; Rabbi David Rosen, international director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee; Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi, an influential Shiite scholar; and representatives signing on behalf of Ahmad el-Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar University – a leading Sunni Muslim institution in Cairo – and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.

The declaration recognised that any action that fails to respect every person’s freedom and dignity “is a crime against humanity.” “We pledge ourselves here today to do all in our power, within our faith communities and beyond, to work together for the freedom of all those who are enslaved and trafficked so that their future may be restored,” it said. “Today we have the opportunity, awareness, wisdom, innovation and technology to achieve this human and moral imperative,” said the joint declaration, which was read aloud in English by a man from Ghana and in Spanish a woman from Mexico, both of whom had been victims of human trafficking and forced labor.

The initiative was organized by the faith-based Global Freedom Network, which was launched in March after a joint agreement by  the Vatican, Al-Azhar University and the Anglican Communion. According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index, almost 36 million people are currently caught in some form of modern slavery; the International Labour Organisation estimates that organised crime networks reap about 150 billion dollars a year from trafficking in persons, about 80% of that from prostitution. http://ncronline.org/news/global/pope-religious-leaders-pledge-work-together-end-slavery-2020

Watch a short clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cnns_ct5c7c

Sign the declaration: http://www.globalfreedomnetwork.org/declaration/

Traffik Jam Concert A Resounding Success

The Parish Hall was full to capacity at the Traffik Jam concert at the Parish Centre on 31st October.  The event raised £2,222.50 for the Medaille Trust.  You may have noticed that the figure keeps going up.  It isn’t too late to add to it.  The Medaille Trust is a charity that provides safe houses for people rescued from human trafficking.  Starting with the Garage Band who played English and Irish music with a fine blend of lyrical ballads, comedy and banter, the concert moved onto Nyima Murry’s haunting folk/blues and some of her own compositions.  The evening finished with the hall echoing to the sounds of over two hundred voices singing popular songs along with Clitheroe Ukulele Orchestra.  It was an evening of fun in aid of a serious issue, the music ranging from light hearted sing alongs to the searing reality of human trafficking.  Nyima Murry sang a trafficking song specially composed for the occasion.

Speaking at the concert Anthony Brown said that the Medaille Trust has 6 safe houses, 3 for sex victims and 3 for men plus a family unit and an Albanian Unit.  Government figures for referrals of potential victims of trafficking  for 2013 in the UK were 1746, of which approximately two thirds were female and two thirds were sexual exploitation.  Nearly one third were minors.  These figures are known cases and represent the tip of an iceberg.  Locally, we are working with the Police via parishioner Detective Chief Inspector Sion Hall.  In East Lancashire there has only been one prosecution in recent years but there is no room for complacency.  The trafficking industry is massive world wide and growing and the Police need the public’s eyes and ears.

A large number of people and organisations have been very generous with their support and particular mention should be made of Sign Design, Burnley for their large outdoor posters and Jenny Press for their large free advert.   Donations and raffle prizes have been many but notably from the Lancaster Foundation, Manchester Football Museum, Ultraframe, Carter Leisure, Sitting Pretty, Byrnes Wine Shop, Townsend Records, Booths and Sainsburys.  Thanks to generous raffle prizes the raffle alone made £354 and sponsorship and donations amounted to £663.50.

 

 

 

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 12th October 2014

Dear Parishioners,

The response of the Church to Human Trafficking

Pope Francis has made the fight against human trafficking a priority in his papacy and recently attended a conference in Rome, co-ordinated by the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales. He has met with victims and described trafficking as “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity.”
The UK is prime destination country for trafficking. Some people are brought directly to the UK for sexual exploitation or slave labour, while others are exploited in transit countries before ultimately arriving in the UK. The majority of trafficked victims in the UK are from Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. The Home Office estimates that between 4,000 and 10,000 women have been trafficked into the UK. You may think that human trafficking is confined to the major cities but it is on our doorstep. In recent years there have been instances of trafficking in Preston, Burnley and Rochdale and it is beyond doubt that the majority of trafficking crimes go undetected.
The Catholic Church in England and Wales is now developing a national response to the destructive practice of human trafficking and is increasingly playing an important role in raising awareness of the scale of human trafficking and developing ways to counter this crime. This is not only a job for the experts and we can all play a part through raising awareness and praying for an end to this most destructive of crimes against vulnerable people.
What we can do within parishes? Pray; raise awareness; volunteer; contact your MP; campaign for slave free labour; donate. For my own part, I aim to start a Parish Anti- Trafficking Group with a webpage on the Parish website. I am also working closely with the Medaille Trust, a charity working in Salford Diocese that provides safe houses for trafficked victims and with Mark Wiggin of Caritas Salford in developing ideas for awareness raising especially with young people.
There will a be a concert at St Michaels and St John’s Parish Centre on Friday 31 October, 7pm. Besides an entertaining evening, the concert is a fundraiser so please spread the word. For more information contact me on 01200 422811 or abrown.boggarts@gmail.com

Thankyou

Anthony Brown
Diocesan Representative (Salford) for the Medaille Trust

 

Weld Day Mass 6th July 2014

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