Traffickers Or Smugglers – What’s The Difference?

The plight of migrants has been in the headlines in recent days and a presentation to Diocesan Synod has highlighted the need for greater understanding by our churches and the consideration of taking action on the problem.

Annie Morris, from the International Organisation for Migration, revealed some alarming facts and statistics. In her presentation (audio summary here TRAFFICKING) she talked about the methods used by traffickers and what is being done to tackle the problem.

She concluded her presentation with a challenge to Christians, saying that training important for clergy and church people to know what to look for and to understand the complexities of the problems of trafficking.

If you want to follow this presentation more fully, the accompanying powerpoint notes can be found here TRACKINGNOTES

David Fieldsend, Attaché to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the EU, then added some more information about how the problem affects our diocese.

“The issue of the large number of migrants fleeing conflict zones in the Middle East and North Africa and putting their lives in peril at the hands of inhuman traffickers in unseaworthy boats to reach Europe has shot up the agenda since Pope Francis told the European Parliament last October ‘we cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a vast graveyard’. Our small congregations in countries which border the Mediterranean, especially the Greater Athens Chaplaincy, have been active in providing ongoing care and support for those arriving with nothing, many of them Christians fleeing persecution. But the burden on these nations and communities is getting intolerable. We therefore welcome the decision of EU leaders at a recent summit meeting to scale up the rescue operation and to seek to spread the burden of caring for those who arrive across the EU as a whole by initially redistributing 40% of those arriving in Greece and Italy to other countries. The European Commission tabled emergency legislation to give effect to this at the end of May and is asking for the Council of Ministers to adopt it as soon as possible. A separate naval mission proposed to go after the traffickers and confiscate their assets is awaiting authorisation from the UN Security Council. 

“Please pray for those in desperation putting their lives in jeopardy to flee and all those seeking to help in their rescue and oppose those who are exploiting their vulnerability. Also for national government Ministers (which does not include the UK for this particular legislation) to be willing to endorse the European Commission’s proposal to share the burden”.