Many people think that slavery is a thing of the past. But the reality is, though this crime is now illegal in every country in the world, it never went away. Across the globe there are now an estimated 40.3 million men, women, and children trapped in modern slavery. 136,000 of them are in the UK.
What is modern slavery?
Modern Slavery can take many forms, but occurs most frequently in four main areas when people are deceived and /or forced into: the sex trade; crime (like drug running, cannabis cultivation, fraud or theft), labour exploitation - (often in construction sites, farm work, car washes, and nail bars - when people are forced to work long hours with little or no pay, and without documents and employment rights); and domestic servitude.
In March 2019, Bishop Martin initiated our Diocesan response to the problem of modern slavery when he opened the ‘Conference on Modern Slavery’ in Ipswich. Since then the Revd Carol Mansell has chaired a working group which is tasked with raising awareness about the problem and its impact on our communities. This group is linked into the Eastern Region Anti-Slavery Partnership, and is part of the national and regional Clewer Initiative (see below).
Key members of the group include Suffolk Police, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Mother’s Union, and members of local churches and community groups. Members of the group provide information and deliver training to interested individuals and groups on modern slavery.
The Clewer Initiative
The Clewer Initiative is the national work of the Church of England to combat modern slavery. We believe that the tools to end modern slavery already exist within the local community and that the Church, which is present in all communities and at the heart of many, has a primary responsibility in leading these efforts.
Below we share three ways you can help combat modern slavery.
1. Know how to spot the signs and how to report it.
The Clewer Initiative shares these helpful signs which might help indicate if someone is a victim of modern slavery and instructions for what to do if you encounter or suspect the problem.
Clewer Initiative - spot the signs | Weblink
2. Download the Farm Work Welfare App
Every year, vulnerable and migrant seasonal workers are targeted and exploited by highly organised criminal gangs. The Farm Work Welfare App is easy to download and use and has been designed to support both employers and workers. It will:
- provide farmers and growers with information, signposting and tools to help avoid criminal organisations and promote worker welfare.
- contain essential support on licensed labour providers, document verification and the rights of workers such as freedom of movement and right to work
- support workers and help them understand their rights and what to do if they are being exploited
- raise awareness amongst members of the public who live or work in rural areas about modern slavery and how to spot potential cases of exploitation
To learn more about modern day slavery in rural communities and download the app please visit here.
3. Download the Car Wash App
The Safe Car Wash app is part of this anti-slavery project and since its launch it has been downloaded 32,000 times and 7,800 reports have been submitted.
The app gives users a checklist of questions to answer when visiting a hand car wash, including the price of the service (less than £6.70 is deemed suspicious), who takes the money, and whether the people washing cars look fearful. Depending on the answers, they may then be urged to make a report to the Modern Slavery helpline.
The data the app collects will be anonymised and shared with the National Crime Agency and the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority, two law enforcement agencies who are leading on efforts to stamp out modern slavery across the UK.
Get involved today and download the app here.
To find out more about the work of the Clewer Initiative or anti-slavery resources, please visit their website:
Clewer Initiative | Weblink