Since 2007, sixteen religious Congregations in England and Wales have provided safe accommodations for children, women and men rescued from prostitution, forced labor and other forms of violence and exploitation, settling these people on a total of 29 properties, with an overall value of 18 million euros. These are the findings of a survey conducted by Arise, a charity Foundation based in London and New York, which was started to combat all forms of slavery and human trafficking. According to the Foundation’s latest report, in the past five years 172 religious, mostly nuns, have been engaged in rescuing hundreds of vulnerable people from falling prey to situations of exploitation and the degradation of human dignity.
Translated into numbers, the commitment of these religious amounts to 650 years of service, while total donations amount to over 11 billion euros. “An inestimable worth,” says Luke de Pulford, Director of Arise. “It is an inestimable worth, yet religious Congregations are hardly ever consulted by government authorities when developing anti-slavery and anti-exploitation policies. Experts in this field are often unaware of the fact that such high numbers of nuns are in the frontline.”
“The female members of religious congregations are the little-known heroines of the anti-slavery movement,” he continues. “I have travelled across the world and have witnessed their efforts, which often involve risking their lives. They work hard in the poorest areas of the planet as well as in destination countries such as the United Kingdom, where women and men religious constantly make an important contribution [to this mission].”