Archbishop Justin celebrates The Clewer Initiative at modern slavery forum in Istanbul

In February the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Ecumenical Patriarch, His All-Holiness Bartholomew of Constantinople, issued a joint declaration condemning modern slavery.

In his speech at the forum, Archbishop Justin outlined that slavery is more rampant today than any other time in human history, and called it an “abomination to human dignity”. The Archbishop also highlighted The Clewer Initiative, the new Church of England project designed to combat modern slavery in England.


Archbishop Justin speaks in Instanbul

Archbishop Justin speaks in Instanbul

I am delighted that last year the Church of England set up The Clewer Initiative... Drawing on the excellent work and leadership of the Bishop of Derby this Initiative aims to help dioceses detect instances of modern day slavery and to provide care to its victims. I have high hopes that this initiative will galvanise the Church into further action so that it might better serve as a witness to the transforming love of Jesus Christ our Saviour.
— Archbishop Justin Welby

The declaration, agreed at the ‘Sins Before Our Eyes’ forum in Istanbul, pledged to:

  • Condemn all forms of human enslavement
  • Commend the efforts of the international community
  • Pray for all victims
  • Repent for not doing enough to curb modern slavery
  • Appeal to governments to implement strict modern slavery laws
  • Urge members of the Orthodox Church and Church of England to become educated, raise awareness and take action
  • Commit to establish a joint taskforce for modern slavery, looking at ways for how the Orthodox Church and the Church of England can work together

The declaration was the latest in a series of events that have brought leaders of faith communities together to condemn modern slavery, and pledge to work together to end it. The most high profile was the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery signed in 2014 by 39 religious leaders, including Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin. 

In his speech in Istanbul, Archbishop Justin reminded religious leaders of their responsibility to condemn modern slavery.

There is no religious basis or justification for a practice that commodifies human beings. All religious leaders need to speak out against such a practice and challenge those false prophets that seek to corrupt sacred texts to justify their warped behaviour.


Take a look at our resources to see how your faith community can join Archbishop Justin in raising awareness about modern slavery.