Vatican City, 5 December 2014 (VIS) – The Pope has sent a message to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, archbishop of Westminster and president of the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales on the occasion of the Second Conference of the Santa Marta Group, taking place in London, United Kingdom, on 5 and 6 December.
The Santa Marta Group – whose name derives from the Holy Father's residence, where the members stayed during their first conference held in the Vatican last April – is composed of High Commissioners of international police forces and bishops from around the world who, along with members of civil society, are working together to prevent and eradicate human trafficking, and to help victims. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, London, and Cardinal Nichols are the co-presidents of the group.
Francis expressed his deep gratitude to all present for their resolve in combating this evil and for your commitment to carry on the work begun at the conference held in the Vatican in April of this year. “Your labours to promote ongoing dialogue on the legal remedies to human trafficking and on the essential care of those who suffer this enslavement are especially important because of the hidden nature of this crime. We must never forget, nor may we ignore, the suffering of so many men, women and children whose human dignity is violated through this exploitation”.
He went on to thank the Home Secretary of the British government, the Metropolitan Commissioner of Police, and the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales for organising the event and the delegates “who demonstrate anew their commitment by their participation in this initiative. In assuring you that the Church remains steadfast in her pledge to combat human trafficking and to care for victims of this scourge, I offer the promise of my prayers that Almighty God may bless and guide your efforts”.