Greetings from Southampton, where the summer has finally arrived after I have been here for nearly three weeks. A lot of our formation seems to be focused in the midlands and the north so it’s great to finally be back down south again. There is no Jesuit community here so I’m living in a parish closest to the port in the Millbrook Estate with a Monfort Missionary, Des.
I am working for the Medaille Trust, a charity that provides safe houses for victims of human trafficking. I am based in one of the safe houses in the city mainly working with male victims although a provision for females is being developed. The work is very interesting and diverse, dealing with a variety of different people who all have separate stories to tell yet they are united in a single struggle against what amounts to human slavery. The safe house provides them with protection and comfort of a reflection period of 45 days whilst the investigation takes place. It is our job, therefore, to encourage and allow them to feel as safe and comfortable as possible.
When thinking about social evils, I think human trafficking has to be one of the greatest injustices. In its essence an individual is dealing directly and selling another human being, exploiting and manipulating all the parts of a human relationship that allows for companionship; trust, fairness and respect. The traffickers lure people into a position which subjectively seems very difficult to get out of and so the vicious cycle continues where a human being is exploited in a number of different ways namely domestic servitude, prostitution and labour exploitation.
It is devastating to see so many lives that have been ruined by the workings of another human being, and for the guests it may seem difficult to see a path beyond the situation they are in. However, I guess it is our job to show that there is hope; that there is a future and normality beyond what can seem a pretty dire situation.
This is the final experiment of my novitiate, and I can feel that at the end I am continuing to be with and accompanying those who need it most. There is a great sense of happiness in being with these people and offering myself to them in the needs that they have, it is through them that I can really understand the fragility of our humanity and how quickly things can go wrong.