HEARTBREAKING – that is the only way you could describe a story featured in our paper last week.

The story was about the father who kidnapped his daughter because he was afraid she would become a genital mutilation victim.

This is not a story that has come from an undeveloped country where tribal belief is more important than health, safety and – there isn’t another word except mutilation. This happened in West Cumbria.

The story is sickening but what is even worse is that the father and his mother are in jail.

It is not for us to comment on court sentences and I am not privy to all the information that the judge had.

But I know the lengths I would go to to prevent my children from hurt – and it seems this father did no more than that.

According to the news report, the father’s barrister told the court that the man had spoken to a social worker and been told that the service did not have the resources to deal with matters of this kind.

If that is true, it is beyond shocking!

The reason the man and his mother were sentenced to jail terms appears to be because they did not report their concerns to the Police. They took the law into their own hands and, as the judge said, sought to deprive his children from any contact with their mother, who, they believed, was organising the mutilation.

That is probably true. Maybe he should have gone to the Police.

But if you’ve already been told that Social Services don’t have the resources to deal with matters of this kind, how confident would you be that the Police could?

And how could you prove it? Would you not have to wait until the crime had been committed and then it would be too late anyway.

This is such an horrific story. I can’t believe anyone would read it and not have full sympathy for the man and his mother and I pray to God that someone is looking after those children.

There is a case for allowing everyone to live their lives and to abide by their own cultures. I used to subscribe to that theory.

I used to worry, when living in South Africa, about men (usually) sentenced to death for murder when they truly believed that they were avenging their tribe and doing the right thing.

But not now. I can’t subscribe, condone or have any empathy for customs that result in harm to others – and certainly not to children.

There’s a bit of me that always believes that there is more good than evil in the world but sometimes it is harder to sustain that belief.

Last week we heard that modern slavery is rising in the UK - and we can no longer turn our heads away or imagine that it happens “just” among immigrants - people who are not our neighbours, who we don’t have to feel worried about. Maybe we feel uncomfortable but we are not so invested.

Well, get invested! A growing number of British children are being enslaved – used for carrying drugs and sexual exploitation.

Last weekend we celebrated Easter.

For Christians that is a time when they believe that Christ was prepared to suffer the horror of crucifixion to die that our sins might be forgiven.

Luckily it is only God who can truly dispense that forgiveness. Maybe He can even understand why a woman would allow her child to be mutilated or scum who prey on the helpless like the modern slave masters do. I know I can’t.

I don’t know what I can do to stop any of it. I don’t know what you can do. All I hope is that if we get the chance to help someone we will rise to the challenge