The IOM Director General, Ambassador William Lacy Swing, and Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW), signed a cooperation agreement on June 30th between their respective organisations to strengthen their relationship and tackle human trafficking through awareness raising.
The event took place at the Archbishop’s House in London, following more than 5 years of cooperation between the IOM office in the United Kingdom and the CBCEW. The partnership began with a mutual understanding that raising awareness about human trafficking through training is key to ensuring that the practice is identified and eliminated. Empowering individuals, such as members of the clergy, school pupils, and the wider church community, allows individuals to understand the crime and its hidden and complex in nature, and to find ways to take action.
Through this partnership IOM has already delivered training to 400 people in coordination with CBCEW, and developed a training manual containing important information and educational exercises about the phenomenon of trafficking, how to identify it and how to make a referral for someone in need of help. The cooperation agreement will seek to enhance further collaborative work on these activities between the two organisations.
During the event held to mark the signing of the agreement, Ambassador Swing noted “IOM and the Catholic Church have a common goal, strengthened by an effective partnership, to raise these hidden victims from the shadows”. Cardinal Nichols reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s commitment to informing the clergy and the wider public of the causes and consequences of trafficking and celebrated the signing of the agreement as a way for relations to be strengthened globally between the church and IOM. He further noted that the agreement coincided with the forthcoming opening of the Bakhita Initiative to provide support and shelter to victims of trafficking.
For further information on IOM UK’s training initiatives, or our work with the Catholic Church and other faith bodies, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org