We believe that the tools to end modern slavery already exist within the local community. The Clewer Initiative is committed to working extensively with dioceses, building their capacity to respond to modern slavery in their communities.

The approach is long-term and is tailored to the needs of each diocese, enabling them to work effectively in their context. It is designed to accompany dioceses in building new relationships between the Church, statutory and non-statutory agencies to develop a community-wide response to modern slavery.

Download an overview of The Clewer Initiative.

Our Strategic Approach

Our aim is to work alongside a diocese to develop strategies to detect instances of modern slavery in their communities and to help provide victim support and care. This includes:

  • Bespoke training and mentoring

  • An overview of the challenges of slavery in the diocese including a history of the Modern Slavery Partnership, details of other statutory and non-statutory agencies working in the area and modern slavery crime figures for the area.

  • Help in identifying existing resources in the diocese.

  • Development of strategic partnerships between the diocese and statutory and non-statutory agencies.

  • Support in engaging and mobilising key stakeholders in the diocese and in the community.

  • Facilitating the delivery of a strategy and operational plan for modern slavery in the diocese.

  • Access to a wider community of diocesan practitioners, experts and champions to enable mutual support, collaborative working and shared best practice.

Participating Dioceses


Bath and Wells

The Diocese of Bath and Wells are holding a series of events in Wells Cathedral to educate the local  community about modern slavery. They involve local schools, business leaders, and church members and will raise awareness of modern slavery both within the diocese and internationally. They are also working with agencies and organisations to consider the particular areas of exploitation which occur most commonly in their diocese, and how they can work to stop them.

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The Diocese of Canterbury is the third most rurally populated county in England. Over the last decade they have worked with the breadth of organisations across the “rural” sector to deepen their knowledge of the risks and challenges associated with working in this context, particularly when it comes to labour exploitation. This has led to them becoming the lead diocese on slavery in rural areas. The diocese will be working with The Clewer Initiative to run a conference on rural slavery in 2018. To begin their work, the diocese has brought together a working group of people passionate about bringing an end to slavery in their communities. 

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Following a case of human trafficking and child exploitation in Rochdale in 2012; the Bishop of Derby, Rt Rev Alastair Redfern, addressed the issue in the House of Lords and began work on a draft of the Modern Slavery Bill for parliament. Alongside this national engagement the Diocese of Derby began partnering at a local level, thereby creating the local model that The Clewer Initiative now facilitates nationally.

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Our work with the Diocese of Durham is in very early stages. Initially t looks like it will include awareness raising with church organisations that may encounter victims such as food banks, street pastors, and homeless organisations, as well as clergy members who may come across victims in their day to day work. We are also exploring a victim support project which will provide pastoral care to survivors of modern slavery. 

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The Diocese of Guildford will be working in partnership with the police, other agencies and the wider voluntary sector to raise awareness of where and how modern slavery is operating in the diocese. They will share ways in which churches can respond to the hidden nature of this issue, in order to help eradicate the exploitation of all people made in the image of God.

Read an interview with our project lead Suzette

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The Diocese of Blackburn has joined other voluntary and statutory partners in the anti-slavery partnership which covers the whole of Lancashire. A ‘Train the Trainer’ programme is being produced for the partnership and a session will be held in April. Information is being shared with local groups about the impact and spotting the signs. The range of groups that are involved will increase as the movement grows. In order to achieve this growth, the Diocese will work closely with Together Lancashire, the joint venture with Church Urban Fund and Lancashire Methodist District.


 Geographical Map of the Diocese of Derby


Chester cathedral has already held a special service to pray for those caught up in modern slavery, and to hear how people in Chester are working against it. They presented a declaration against modern slavery which was signed on behalf of all churches in Cheshire by the Bishop of Chester. In March they held an event for business leaders in Chester Cathedral to help them think about how they can help fight modern slavery. They are working with the Cheshire Modern Slavery Partnership to spread the message as widely as possible.

 The Bishop of Derby speaking at our launch at Lambeth Palace in October 2017.

The Bishop of Derby speaking at our launch at Lambeth Palace in October 2017.

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The Diocese of Gloucester is a member of their local anti-slavery partnership which covers the county of Gloucestershire and involves the police and local councils as well as the Catholic Diocese. The Diocesan and Cathedral safeguarding officers are focusing on training, and has trained 500 people since 2016. The diocese and cathedral have used safeguarding training to raise awareness of the issue in the local area, including the signs to spot and the helpline number in all of their training.


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Transforming Communities Together, the Diocese of Lichfields’s joint venture with Church Urban Fund, is a core member of the Wolverhampton Anti-Slavery Partnership. Their involvement has led to increased collaboration between the church, police and statutory agencies. They work together to raise awareness of modern slavery, support victims and share intelligence. As a result churches in Wolverhampton have been recruited to be on standby to act as reception centres for rescued victims.

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A strategic meeting on modern slavery in Liverpool is being convened by the diocese with key partners. In addition, along with the dioceses of Virginia in the US and Kumasi in Ghana, Liverpool is engaged in a project called the Triangle of Hope. Through the project they will grapple with all three dioceses’ historic involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade, whilst also exploring what they can do to help today’s victims.

Read an interview with our project lead Revd Christel

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After coming along to our networking day in May 2017, the Diocese of Rochester have been considering how the topic of modern slavery could be tackled in their diocese. They agreed that raising awareness about modern slavery would be part of their new Diocesan Vision, ‘Called Together’. They are holding a regional conference for Rochester and surrounding dioceses focussing on victim support in June 2018 and training to enable victim support projects is being developed. 

Read an interview with our project lead Caroline

 Geographical Map of the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham


In a recent speech, the Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, highlighted the power and value of partnership. “As we seek to grow the seeds of the Kingdom… we will find ourselves being drawn into active partnerships … with a wide range of groups in civic society. Working together for the common good is the visible sign of our commitment to the world that God loves so much.” This will be a firm foundation for their work with communities and The Clewer Initiative on modern slavery.

 Geographical Map of the Diocese of Portsmouth


The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Rev Christopher Foster has spoken publicly about politics and leadership in a "world where there is so much exploitation of the weak, so much slavery, human trafficking and oppression". Working with The Clewer Initiative, the Diocese of Portsmouth will become the second participating Diocese in late 2017, beginning with understanding the scale of modern slavery in Portsmouth.

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The Diocese of St Albans is excited about the possibility of raising awareness in their parishes and among their ecumenical partners. They hope to work alongside the police forces of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire to train clergy and congregations to spot the signs of modern slavery and report their suspicions. Core to the project is their desire to be ecumenical, drawing in people from across different church networks.

Read an interview with our project lead, Revd Kelvin

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southwell and nottingham

The Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham has already taken their first steps towards combatting modern slavery. They are part of two local initiatives, with statutory and civil society partners. Revd Liam O’Boyle, Partnership’s Officer for the Diocese, said: “The knowledge that churches and faith communities have of their local communities puts them on the frontline in this campaign.” The Clewer Initiative will work alongside the Diocese, enabling them to use that knowledge as effectively as possible by working through their network of parishes.

Read an interview with our project lead, Revd Liam

Diocesan maps contain Ordnance Survey Data © Crown Copyright and Database Right 2017

If you are a church leader and would like to help detect instances of modern slavery in your community and help provide victim support and care, please contact your local diocese to find out what they're doing and how you can get involved.