‘Santa Marta Group’ Will Hold its First European Conference

‘Eradication of Modern Slavery – How can we succeed? Human Trafficking and Labor exploitation in Europe’

Santa Marta Group

On February 8-9, 2022, the international “Santa Marta Group” will hold its first European conference. The theme of the conference will be “Eradication of Modern Slavery – How can we succeed? Human Trafficking and Labor exploitation in Europe” and will be jointly organized by the Santa Marta Group and the Migration Commission of the German Bishops’ Conference. The Santa Marta Group is an alliance of high-ranking church representatives and law enforcement officials from over 30 countries as well as other governmental and non-governmental organizations. It first met in 2014 at the invitation of Pope Francis, who has made the fight against slavery a priority of his pontificate. The aim of the group, in which the German Bishops’ Conference also participates, is to develop joint and effective strategies against human trafficking and exploitation.

The conference focuses on Europe. It brings together partners from across the continent to discuss concrete action steps to prevent and combat human trafficking and to recommend them to church actors and civil society organizations as well as to the decision-makers. Already in December 2020, the Santa Marta Group and the German Bishops’ Conference held a preparatory expert seminar on the topics of victim protection, labor exploitation, supply chains, finance, and law enforcement.

On the occasion of Anti-Trafficking Day 2021, Pope Francis emphasized that “an economy without trafficking in human beings is a courageous economy” that “needs the courage to combine legitimate profit with the promotion of employment and decent working conditions”. In the current global Corona crisis, exploitation in many sectors of the labor market has also become more visible in Europe. At the same time, more people are becoming victims of human trafficking and exploitation out of necessity, because, as Pope Francis states, “in the crisis, human trafficking is rampant”. The consequences of the crisis and the impact on the situation of victims of human trafficking are therefore also important topics of the conference.

Originally, the conference was supposed to take place in the Cathedral City at the invitation of the Archdiocese of Cologne. However, due to the pandemic, it has to take place as a video conference.

The current program of the event can be downloaded here www.dbk.de.