A launch to remember

On Tuesday 17th October we held our official launch event at Lambeth Palace. It was the culmination of months of planning, and our first opportunity to share widely our vision for how the church can make a real difference to the fight against modern slavery.

We welcomed our guests with drinks and canapés before premiering our new film: We See You. It gave our guests a picture of what modern slavery can look like in the UK, as well as telling them Miriam’s story.

Miriam was trafficked into domestic servitude in the UK from the Caribbean. Her employers forced her to work long days for no pay. At one point the madam of the house told Miriam that she owned her. Heartbreakingly, once a week the family would take Miriam to church with them, but no one at the church noticed the situation she was in. 

Miriam was surrounded week after week by people worshipping a God who wants true freedom for all. But they didn’t recognise the signs or ask the right questions to help set Miriam free.
— Julie Etchingham, We See You film

After the film, Bishop Alastair Redfern, the Bishop of Derby welcomed our guests and spoke about why the Church of England is launching this project and offered a challenge to Christians in the UK. Listen to his speech here

Take off the blinkers, stop being indifferent, and recognise that we must make an effort to find the person who is hidden, who is being exploited.
— Bishop Alastair Redfern

The Bishop was followed by Miriam, who spoke about how her personal faith and her experiences had galvanised her and given her the confidence to be ‘a voice for the voiceless’, and to speak up for others who are experiencing modern slavery.

Next up was Kevin Hyland, the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, who welcomed the creation of The Clewer Initiative, saying he firmly believes that ‘faith groups are a crucial partner in the fight against modern slavery’. Listen to his speech here

The church can add a moral and theological argument to the cause. The victims of modern slavery are people not commodities.
— Kevin Hyland, IASC

Finally, Sarah Newton MP, the Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, spoke about the reach that faith groups have into different areas of society. Listen to her speech here

Churches are at the heart of all communities all over the country from the tiniest hamlet, to the largest city and the reach that you have and the influence you have to raise awareness and also enable Christians, in a very practical way, to show their genuine love for their neighbour is absolutely fantastic. 
— Sarah Newton MP, Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability

As a team we were honoured to receive such ringing endorsements from organisations and individuals that we respect for their work on modern slavery. We agree that faith groups have the potential to make a huge difference to the lives of victims of modern slavery, and we’re excited to be part of bringing that to life.

After our launch we held a Commissioning Service. Read more about that here