Father Gerry Campbell to undertake four day cross-border run to raise awareness of human trafficking

21 Apr 2015


Archbishop Eamon Martin and Sr Geraldine McCarthy of APT join Fr Gerry Campbell to launch Fr Gerry’s four day run in aid of APT


Archbishop Eamon Martin welcomes Father Campbell’s initiative and asks for support

Earlier this year, Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh, proposed that a resolution for 2015 might be to raise awareness in order to tackle the global scandal of human trafficking.  Archbishop Martin proposed that we might ask ourselves and our public representatives:

  • where is trafficking happening in our community?
  • what are we doing to actively make Ireland the land of one thousand welcomes and a cold place for human traffickers?

In an effort to create awareness of modern day trafficking Father Gerry Campbell, Parish Priest of Kilkerley, Dundalk, will undertake a diocesan run – starting from the Bann and going to the Boyne and he will undertake it over the four days of 26, 27, 28 and 29 April.  Father Campbell is a native of Magherafelt in County Derry and is no stranger to running the length of the Archdiocese of Armagh.  His first diocesan walk/run was in 2013 when a team of runners and walkers joined him at various parts of the archdiocese to raise funds for Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.  Last year he ran the same route in support of the Trócaire’s 2014 Lenten Campaign which highlighted the global water crisis.

In welcoming Father Campbell’s initiative Archbishop Martin said, “In recent days the large scale loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea has once again highlighted human trafficking as a real and present problem which needs be addressed locally, nationally and internationally.  As a start we need a personal awareness of what trafficking is, and how it can be prevented.  I warmly welcome Father Gerry’s initiative which seeks to raise public awareness about this form of human exploitation and aggressive family displacement.  I ask the faithful to remember in their prayers all people who have experienced trafficking, and I invite anyone who can to come out and support Father Gerry on his route.”

In his message on New Year’s Day – the World Day of Peace – Pope Francis placed before us the cruel facts of modern day slavery: that millions of children, women and men throughout the world are deprived of their freedom and forced to live in conditions akin to slavery.  The Holy Father spoke with bluntness about the greed and corruption which preys upon the dignity of our fellow human beings who are “trafficked” from place to place and mistreated as objects for exploitation and prostitution.  Many of them, because of extreme poverty and helplessness get caught up into a vicious circle, accepting roles and situations that are beneath their human dignity.  And, sadly, because of selfishness and global indifference, the wider global community can easily remain blind and ignorant of the plight of trafficked people.


Notes for Editors

  • Photographs of Archbishop Eamon Martin and Father Campbell launching the anti-trafficking awareness run are available from Liam McArdle on +44 (0) 7900107362.
  • Father Campbell will commence his cross-border run in Newbridge, County Derry on Sunday 26 April when he will run from Saint Trea’s Church Newbridge to Dungannon in County Tyrone. On Monday his run will begin from Saint Patrick’s Church Dungannon and end in Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh. On Tuesday he will run from Saint Michael’s Church, Newtownhamilton to Kilsaran (Castlebellingham) County Louth and finally complete the run on Wednesday by running from Saint Mary’s Church, Kilsaran to Saint Peter’s Church in Drogheda.  As in other years, Father Gerry is hoping he will be joined by supporters along the running route.  Each run begins with a prayer service at 8.30am (Dungannon 9.30am) and the run then continues each day at 9.00am.
  • This year Father Gerry is running in support of APT (Act to Prevent Trafficking).  APT is a faith-based group working to end the trafficking of humans for sexual exploitation.  APT members belong to religious congregations or missionary societies that are part of the Conference of Religious of Ireland and/or the Irish Missionary Union.  The purpose of APT is twofold: firstly to raise awareness of the issue of sex trafficking; and, to work in collaboration with others for the prevention of the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation.  APT is committed to healing this wound; to working towards a society free from slavery, in which the inherent dignity of each individual is respected and protected.  Donations can be made to APT on its website aptireland.org and cheques can be made payable to ‘Cori Anti-Trafficking Group’.  Contact Father Gerry by email on [email protected]
  • Pope Francis has called human trafficking a scourge and an open wound in contemporary society.  An estimated 21 million people are trafficked globally, and Ireland has been identified as a source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking which is a modern form of slavery.  Approximately 80% of the victims in Ireland are trafficked into the sex industry.  Human trafficking is an increasingly lucrative criminal trade, comparable in profit to the illegal arms and drugs trades.

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: 00353 (1) 5053019 or Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678