On Saturday 17th February Lincoln Cathedral and The Clewer Initiative hosted a Modern Slavery Summit, designed to give Lincoln residents an insight into the problem of modern slavery and how they can help solve it.
The event began with a prayer walk from the Cornhill, where the National Crime Agency were displaying their Invisible People exhibition, a collection of photos showing what modern slavery in the UK looks like. Revd Dr Paul Overend, Chancellor of Lincoln, led the group in a prayer, before leading the way to the Cathedral carrying a lit Clewer Initiative candle. At the Great West doors of the Cathedral, which were opened specially for the occasion, the candle was given to the Dean of Lincoln, the Very Revd Christine Wilson, who welcomed the attendees, saying she hoped the morning’s event would be a significant marker in the region’s fight against modern slavery.
The candle is a light in the darkness, symbolising hope for an end of modern slavery and human trafficking. The Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, the Bishop of Derby and chair of The Clewer Initiative expanded on this theme in his presentation to the group, as he spoke about the strapline of The Clewer Initiative: We See You. He encouraged those attending to open their eyes to modern slavery, and spot the signs of exploitation happening around them, so they could become a light in the darkness for those who are oppressed and held in bondage.
The next presentation was from someone who had been confronted with the problem of modern slavery in his business, and resolved to do something about it. Shayne Tyler is the Operations Executive for Manor Fresh ltd, a large British vegetable supplier. In 2000, Manor Fresh was featured on a Panorama episode, exposing that 80% of their agency-supplied workforce were working illegally and all of them were being exploited. Since then, Shayne has been working hard to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. He believes a people-centred environment is the key, and prevention is better than rescue.
The final speaker was DI Harry Dick, the Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Coordinator for the East Midlands Region. He spoke about recent investigations in Lincoln and the East Midlands, and gave the attendees the signs to look out for when looking for modern slavery in their communities.
Speaking about the day, Dean Christine Wilson said she thought it had been challenging and informative for all of those involved.
Caroline Virgo from The Clewer Initiative echoed her comments, and said she thought it had been a very valuable event for spreading the word about modern slavery in the region.
Around 80 delegates attended the summit, from a range of sectors and backgrounds. The feedback received was very positive with many enquiring further as to how they can get involved to help the fight against modern slavery in Lincolnshire.
Very powerful imagery on display in Cornhill Lincoln this weekend with @NCA_UK #InvisiblePeople exhibition. I spoke to the Chancellor of Lincoln about it before heading to @LincsCathedral for #ModernSlavery #humantrafficking Summit with @theclewer . #safertogether pic.twitter.com/ZMoUGousVO— Marc Jones PCC (@MarcJonesLincs) 17 February 2018
You can read an account of the day from Lincoln Cathedral and see more photos from the event on their website.