Following a 2012 case of human trafficking and child exploitation in Rochdale; 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 engaging and partnering at a local level, thereby creating the local model that The Clewer Initiative now facilitates nationally.
Transforming Communities Together, the Diocese of Lichfields’s joint venture with Church Urban Fund, is a core member of the Wolverhampton Anti-Slavery Partnership. It brings agencies together to raise awareness, support victims and share intelligence. Anglican churches in Wolverhampton have been on standby as reception centres for any rescued victims. The Diocese are running trainings to equip communities to respond to modern slavery in their area.
The Communities Engagement Team in Guildford supports parishes by raising awareness of, exploring and responding to local and national social issues, of which modern slavery is one. They hope working in partnership, and mapping and sharing information on where and how this human highway of misery is operating in their diocese, will help to eradicate the exploitation of all people made in the image of God.
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 with a training on modern slavery in shipping.
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.
The Diocese of St Albans is excited about the possibilities of raising awareness in their parishes. They hope to working alongside the police forces of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire to train clergy and congregations on spotting the signs of modern slavery, and how to report their suspicions to the police. Core to their project is their desire for it to be ecumenical, drawing in people from across different church networks.
southwell & 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.
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