Anglicans gather for anti-trafficking, slavery consultation

November 3, 2014

[Anglican Alliance] Anglicans from across the Communion will be gathering in Rome, Italy, Nov. 3-7 to discuss their churches’ work in ending human trafficking and modern slavery.  The consultation is being convened by the Anglican Alliance and hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop David Moxon.

The purpose of the consultation is to learn about the work of churches around the Anglican Communion in tackling modern slavery and human trafficking. The group will reflect on the most effective approaches and agree on recommendations for a Communion-wide response. These will focus on the prevention of trafficking and slavery, protection and support for survivors, prosecution of perpetrators, and policy and advocacy work with governments and the private sector.

The issue of human slavery is a growing global crisis, with recent estimates of nearly 30 million people oppressed in slavery in almost every part of the world. The issue has been raised in every regional consultation held by the Anglican Alliance, and so has now been identified as a global priority.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope have jointly committed to tackle human slavery, giving their blessing to the ecumenical and interfaith initiative, the Global Freedom Network, launched in Rome in March 2014.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby sent a message of welcome to the participants: “This week you have gathered to consider how our Anglican Communion can be more effective in working together and collaborating with other faith communities and secular partners to end modern slavery. It is a huge and daunting challenge – but it is a task that we must face. Evil will thrive if humanity stands by and does nothing while the most vulnerable suffer at the hands of traffickers and slavers.”

The consultation will reflect on the current work by churches in the Communion against trafficking and slavery, while also learning about other faith-based and secular approaches – including the work of the Global Freedom Network, Caritas Internationalis, the Salvation Army, and the Walk Free Foundation. This will include analysis of work in prevention, protection of survivors, prosecution of perpetrators, policy work to strengthen legislation and make recommendations on collaborating more effectively in partnership.

To deepen the spiritual foundations of the work, the participants will also spend a day in prayer and reflection in the ancient town of Assisi, considering the ministry of St. Francis with the most vulnerable and oppressed of his time.

The Rev. Rachel Carnegie, co-executive director of the Anglican Alliance, said: “It is truly shocking and heartbreaking to hear the accounts of men, women and children who have been trafficked and enslaved. There are many important initiatives in different parts of the Anglican Communion. This consultation will enable us to learn together from our experiences and to shape a stronger collective response to end this crime against humanity.”

Churches, individuals and communities worldwide are invited to join a one-hour global webinar held on Nov. 6 at 1 p.m. GMT, which will share outcomes from the consultation and discuss the way forward for shared learning and collaboration across the Anglican Communion.