Tackling modern slavery: 'Prayer a great place to start'
Christian charity CARE called for the church to commemorate Anti-Slavery Day 2018 (Thursday 18 October) by dedicating time to pray for victims of modern slavery
Anti-Slavery Day is enshrined in law and is an opportunity for charities and organisations across the UK and the EU to shine a spotlight on the plight of those trapped in human trafficking.
Modern slavery is an abhorrent crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes – including for sex, forced labour, domestic servitude, criminal activity and even sometimes for organ harvesting.
According to recent estimates, there were 40.3 million people trapped in modern slavery in 2016 – around 70 per cent of those women and girls. In the UK alone, the most recent estimate shows that 136,000 people are trapped in exploitation, some ten times higher than was previously thought.
In the run-up to Anti-Slavery Day CARE has used social media to publish specific prayers for victims and those working against modern slavery and there are a vast range of resources available for church leaders on the CARE website.
CARE’s Senior Policy Officer – Human Trafficking, Louise Gleich said, 'Modern slavery robs people of their dignity, freedom and human rights and it has no place in our society. The sheer scale of the problem is frightening and many victims are hidden in plain sight.
'It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the scale of modern slavery and wonder how we can help to tackle it but we think prayer is a great place to start.
'We know prayer has the power to change things. If the church gets behind this issue and spends dedicated time this week praying for victims of modern slavery, just think of the amazing impact it would have.
'It is hard for those of who have never encountered or experienced modern slavery to relate to the suffering and trauma victims experience.
'Victims face many challenges as they seek to rebuild their lives and they need our prayers, as do all those amazing organisations who devote time to helping them.
'For the church to step up and commit to pray for victims of modern slavery it would not only raise vital awareness about this crime but also send a powerful message to society about how the church supports the vulnerable in society.'
The charity's call was backed by the Revd Dr Dan Pratt, Antislavery Co-ordinator for the Eastern Baptist Association. He said, 'Antislavery day gives our churches an opportunity to remember and pray for the thousands of victims of Modern Slavery in the UK today. Most of these victims have not yet been found and are still held in captivity.
'Let's pray that the suffering and exploitation of these vulnerable people will be brought to light and that God will use our churches and communities to 'set the captives free'.
'Let's pray for the survivors who have escaped abuse, that God will bind up the brokenhearted and enable them to receive adequate care, love and support.
'Let's pray for our churches that we will have the courage to go into the darkness to be Christ's light even when it is costly.'
CARE’s Anti-Slavery Day resources can be found here.
Also visit the Clewer Initiative, which enables Church of England dioceses and wider church networks to develop strategies for detecting modern slavery in their communities. Its resources include this 'Spot the Signs' poster.