BY Daniel Harkins | June 28 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Archdiocese identifies property to be used as a safe house for human trafficking victims

St Andrews & Edinburgh Archdiocese has identified church property to be used as a safe house for victims of human trafficking.

Following a meeting on Friday June 21, the episcopal vicar for Caritas, Justice & Peace Fr Basil Clark revealed that a church property has now been identified as a proposed safe house and the archdiocese plan to move forward with proposals at a ‘tentative’ stage.

Fr Clark, parish priest of Our Lady of Loretto and St Michael Church, Musselburgh, said: “We are exploring what else can be done in the Archdiocese of St Andrew’s & Edinburgh to help victims of human trafficking.

“At this stage we have identified a Church property which we think will be suitable to act as a safe house for victims of human trafficking but it remains at a very tentative stage.

“When you encounter victims in personal way, it really hits home. You feel absolutely terrible for these people; they are at the coalface of human darkness.”

Fr Clark added that the archdiocese would have to go through a number of stages before the safe houses became operative, including the training of volunteers to help the victims of trafficking.

“We would now need to tie the safe house to an organisation-for example, the Apostleship of the Sea (AoS) would be an appropriate one, because of their ongoing work with victims of human trafficking,” Fr Clark said.

“We would then have to find religious Sisters or volunteers who could assist with the safe house operation.”

He added that the property could be used for other purposes, for instance to host refugees.

“The property could become available for a refugee if the circumstances were to meet the approval of the archdiocese,” he said. “Any volunteers or Religious would need training and then we would use the project as a way of raising awareness of the issue within the archdiocese.”

Last year, Bishop Brian McGee of Argyll and the Isles met with Police Scotland to look at ways the Church could help in the fight against trafficking.

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