Friday links: New global estimate and the PM speaks about the impact of her faith on fight against slavery

Every Friday we share the latest news on modern slavery and human trafficking in the UK. Keep up to date by following us on twitter (@theclewer) or Facebook, where we will share the article each week, or sign up to our monthly newsletter

Latest figures reveal more than 40 million people are living in slavery

This week a new estimate of those living in modern slavery globally was announced: 40 million. The figure was arrived at by Walk Free Foundation, the International Labour Organisation and the International Organisation for Migration - it's the first time they have worked together to create an estimate. Significantly, this is the first time forced marriage has been included in the total, here's an article from Fiona David, the Executive Director of Global Research at the Walk Free Foundation explaining why. You can read the full report at the Alliance 8.7 website

EXPERT VIEWS-Can landmark data boost global fight against modern slavery?

Some people question whether numbers actually help anything when it comes to fighting slavery. Thomson Reuters have collated a whole bunch of views from experts in the field on why they think numbers make a real difference. 

Simply put, we cannot fight this crime if we do not understand the true extent and nature of it. Data which is accurate and reliable is a key weapon for those of us on the frontline of modern slavery. Along with raising more general awareness, it helps governments and charities to take more strategic decisions and implement policy based on facts rather than guess work.
— Kevin Hyland, IASC

UK needs to wake up to horrors of modern-day slavery, says Theresa May

The PM gave an interview to the Evening Standard (whose new campaign we mentioned last week) where she encouraged the UK public to play a part in spotting the victims of slavery. She spoke about the role of faith in her crusade against modern slavery, and about conversations with Archbishop Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols which had informed her thinking on the issue. At the UN in New York, she also announced that the UK will be doubling their aid spending on modern slavery to help combat the problem globally. 

I think my faith always informs what I do, and it is part of what drives me in a number of areas, including fighting social injustice. I’ve talked regularly to Cardinal Vincent Nichols and also the Archbishop of Canterbury about this. The churches have huge networks in countries where people fall victim to slavery that can be used to support victims.
— Theresa May, Prime Minister

UK anti-slavery hotline identifies 4,000 potential victims in first year

The Modern Slavery Helpline announced this week that they have taken 3000 calls in their first year, and they think they have identified 4000 potential victims of modern slavery. Justine Currell, who worked on the Modern Slavery Act and now runs the helpline, said the calls they received had led to about 1,000 referrals to police.

Many calls to the hotline were from people in domestic servitude, which Currell said was particularly hard to tackle because it happened behind closed doors. Nail bars and car washes were also often reported - both sectors are known to exploit trafficking victims. Several callers were so desperate they threatened to commit suicide, with some reporting that their enslavers had threatened to harm family members.


We often hear that we need to work together if we want to solve modern slavery - which is completely true! But working with different agencies can present challenges, particularly if you are a clergy member. We asked a parish priest how they tackle the conflicting priorities and misunderstandings they encounter in their outreach to sex workers. 

It’s important to remember that not everyone has a faith, or understands Christianity or any other religion. Not everyone is going to understand what spiritual welfare is or that people have a right to it. It is well worth investing time to enable co-workers to understand the role of the priest. In fact, it’s essential for effective working relationships.

That's it for this week! Keep up to date with us throughout the week by following us on twitter (@theclewer) or Facebook, or sign up to our monthly newsletter

Photo by Miguel Sousa on Unsplash