Homily notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin Archbishop of Dublin
Church of the Three Patrons, Rathgar, Dublin, 1st January 2015
Trafficking of human persons is a problem in Ireland today
“Pope Francis chose the theme of this year’s World Day of Peace as: No Longer Slavers but as Brothers and Sisters. It is theme which reflects a life-long concern of the Pope regarding human trafficking.
The problem of human trafficking is a world-wide challenge. Very often, however, when we think of a challenge as being world-wide, 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.
It is difficult to establish the real extent of human trafficking in Ireland. This does not mean that the problem does not exist. 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. I have been 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.
While police authorities are taking a lead in the area of trafficking there is also a real responsibility of Church and voluntary organizations to address the problem. Local communities have a real 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. There are many ways in which local communities can help identifying these people who want to free themselves but are fearful of those who manage them. It is easy simply to take no notice of them.
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? There are many ways in which local communities can notice individuals in their communities who seem isolated. Together with an Garda Síochána local communities can help build up a picture of possible exploitation which is taking place.
We pray at the conclusion of this Mass for all those who suffer exploitation in the midst of our communities and we pray that our communities will become ever-more attentive to those are most fragile among them.”