Banner Image:   Baptist-Times-banner-2000x370-
Template Mode:   Baptist Times
    Post     Tweet

Responding to modern slavery

When slavery is happening on the doorsteps of our churches, we must respond. How? By Dan Pratt


Modern Slavery

With the National Crime Agency (NCA) estimating there are well over 13,000 people being kept in modern slavery in the UK today, we must ask what is the church’s response to modern slavery? 

The NCA states that ‘As you go about your normal daily life there is a growing and a good chance that you will come across a victim who has been exploited and that's why we are asking the public to recognise their concerns and report them."

It is therefore imperative that the church responds to this injustice. In my ministry as a Baptist minister among those on the margins I have come into regular contact with those being exploited for labour or sexual services. Within the Eastern Baptist Association churches have already identified and helped victims of MS or those vulnerable to exploitation by reporting to the authorities and enabling people to be freed. 

The UK’s Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Kevin Hyland, notes ‘Faith groups have influence, insight and rare avenues into the community. They are therefore a powerful tool in the fight against modern slavery’. 

As Baptists, if we are seeking to follow Jesus in his mission, we follow him in 'setting the captives fee'. When slavery is happening on the doorsteps of our churches and even sometimes within our churches, we must respond in order to protect and safeguard. How do we do this?

  • Firstly we need to see our communities and streets with new eyes. Do we see those being kept in slavery around us? Do our churches know how to spot the signs of someone in slavery? Are individuals isolated?  Is their story scripted? Are they being controlled?
  • Secondly we should act. If we suspect someone is being kept as a slave do we know to phone the Modern Slavery National Helpline (08000 121700).  www.modernslaveryhelpline.org
  • Thirdly, we need to partner together and consult. We are stronger when we work together to fight this injustice. How can we as Baptists Together, within our churches, associations and national networks work together in setting the captives free? 

Within the EBA, we are developing a joined up response and exploring how partnerships can develop. We are working in partnership with organisations such as The Clewer Initiative, the Church of England’s response to Modern Slavery. In 2018 the EBA along with The Clewer Initiative is facilitating three regional anti-slavery summits in Cambridge, Chelmsford and Norwich.

Having attended The Clewer Initiative's launch at Lambeth Palace, 17 October, it was encouraging to see their joined up and proactive approach. Miriam, a survivor of modern slavery stated at the launch ‘I was trafficked by Christians. For 10 years I was a victim of modern slavery. They told me when to eat, when to sleep. I had no freedom’. Bishop Alistair Redfern called the church to ‘take off our blinkers and go and find those in our society who are victims of modern slavery’.

As we join Jesus is setting the captives free, how can we as Baptists develop a robust and collective response towards the injustice of modern slavery?

Picture | Clewer Initiative

Dan Pratt is Antislavery Co-ordinator for the Eastern Baptist Association

New UK modern slavery findings 
Modern slavery in the UK is on the increase according to a number of recent reports  
Review: Human Trafficking, the Bible and the Church By Marion L.S Carson
'Valuable piece of work offering a rigorous overview of the themes of slavery and prostitution within the Bible, and exploring a church response


Baptist Times, 20/10/2017
    Post     Tweet
Examples of how Home Mission funds are being used in the Eastern Baptist Association
People on the margins in Southend have been supported throughout lockdown by an emergency fund with two Baptist ministers at its heart
To commemorate the 220th anniversary of Garland Street Baptist Church in Bury St. Edmunds, a new book presents the church’s role in the town, across East Anglia, and beyond. Author and church member Terry Tyrell introduces it
Two Baptist ministers in Southend have helped to create an emergency fund that has supported those badly affected during the pandemic
Dereham Baptist Church marked its 237th anniversary with a special meditation on Psalm 23, put together by some of its congregation in lockdown. Lead minister Nigel Bayley explains more
A number of churches in and around Cambridge are inviting those who 'don't do church' to give prayer a try. Little did they realise launch of the initiative would coincide with Covid-19 and a time of increased anxiety and fear
Baptist church member Clive Morton on the ever expanding Winter Night Shelter Programme in Peterborough
     Regional News 
    Posted: 03/06/2019
    Posted: 18/10/2018
    Posted: 03/10/2018
    Posted: 19/01/2018
    Posted: 05/09/2017
    Posted: 10/01/2017
    Posted: 01/09/2016
    Posted: 24/08/2016
    Posted: 07/02/2016