Northern Ireland news

Archbishop Eamon Martin urges prayers for Essex dead

Archbishop Eamon Martin
Connla Young

ARCHBISHOP Eamon Martin has urged Catholics to pray that those responsible for the Essex human trafficking tragedy are brought justice.

The most senior Catholic churchman in Ireland made the remarks during Mass at Saint Patrick and Saint Colman's Cathedral in Newry, Co Down, yesterday.

The archbishop said the “grim discovery” has “shocked us all”.

“I encourage everyone to pray for those who have perished, for their loved ones, for all those caught up in this gruesome situation and for those who are called to respond,” he said.

“Pray that the identities of the dead can be quickly established and that all those responsible be stopped and brought to justice.”

Archbishop Martin said Pope Francis has described human trafficking as ‘an open wound on the body of contemporary society - a scourge upon the body of Christ'.

The senior church man added that “migrant smuggling and human trafficking feeds on the desperation of vulnerable people, many of whom are fleeing from violence or economic uncertainty.

“Smugglers and traffickers exploit children, women and men who are prepared to use drastic measures to reach what they think and hope will be a better life, often only to be enslaved and manipulated in forced labour or prostitution,” he said.

He urged an end to the practice of human trafficking.

“The horror of this discovery should awaken us all to the reality that human trafficking could be happening right in front of us – in our own parish and in our own town.

“Let us resolve to raise awareness, to keep our eyes open and to cooperate at all levels of society for an end to this evil in our midst.”

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