Anti-Slavery Day

by Michael Ford last modified 02 Oct, 2019 10:10 AM

It is Anti-Slavery Day on Friday 18th October and a series of resources, including prayer and church materials has been developed to encourage parishes to take part in the event.

The day and the resources are being organised by The Clewer Initiative which enables Church of England dioceses and wider church networks to raise awareness of modern slavery, identify victims and to help provide victim support and care.

Caroline Barnard, from The Clewer Initiative explains:

"Homeless people living on the street, and those in temporary accommodation, are vulnerable to being exploited by perpetrators of slavery who can offer incentives that sound attractive. Many of these perpetrators are part of national or global gangs, operating in different parts of the country, which means they can move slaves from town to town to avoid detection and isolate the slaves further from potential networks of help. According to the Homelessness Monitor, rough sleeping in England has grown by 165% since 2010.

"In the last two years, the Modern Slavery Helpline has had reports of 353 potential victims who were homeless before, during, or after being exploited.

"There are many causes for homelessness, ranging from family break-ups, to unemployment, personal crises, and mental health. Victims of modern slavery may also become homeless after escaping from their traffickers because they are unable or don’t know how to access support.

"At the moment, although there is lots of anecdotal evidence, there is very little data to connect homelessness and modern slavery. and the Clewer Initiative wants to change this:

"We know that over the winter many churches across the UK host or support Night Shelters, potentially coming into contact with thousands of homeless people. We need you to start a conversation with your guests, to enable them to find help and support, and to help us to understand the problem.

"Have they been targeted by traffickers? Have they picked up casual work which turned out to be abusive or exploitative? Ask open questions which encourage your guests to tell their story.

"Let’s talk to the homeless people in our communities, so we can say 'We See You' to victims of modern slavery."

All the prayers and full resources are available here.

Parishes and individuals are also being encouraged to share this simple post via Facebook and Twitter on Friday 18th October:

‘Today is UK Anti-Slavery Day. Let’s join The Clewer Initiative in praying for an end to modern slavery. #WeSeeYou’

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