An estimated 29 million people worldwide are being kept in conditions of slavery. Marking the UN Anti-Trafficking Day on 30 July 2014, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby, said:
“It beggars belief to think that, 200 years after William Wilberforce’s success in abolishing the transatlantic slave trade, the trade in human beings continues at such a pace that we need a UN World Day against Trafficking in Persons. I encourage churches to be at the forefront of this new abolitionist movement, by taking steps to raise awareness now and by coming together with others around the world on 19 October, Freedom Sunday, in a day of worship, prayer and action on human trafficking.”
These resources have been produced through a collaborative process involving the Church of England and other churches and agencies in the UK and elsewhere.
The Anglican Alliance contributed to the development of these resources and we encourage churches in other parts of the Anglican Communion to adapt these materials to their own contexts and participate in Freedom Sunday.
Freedom Sunday is a day of worship, prayer and action on human trafficking and modern slavery. On Sunday, 19 October 2014, churches all over the world will join together to raise awareness of the crime and show the world our commitment to end the suffering of women, men and children trapped in slavery.
The worship resources for Freedom Sunday have been designed to enable local churches to take part in the day and learn more about how congregations can help to raise awareness and tackle this injustice.
Global Freedom Network
In his recent visit to Rome, Archbishop Justin met with the Council of the Global Freedom Network, established in March this year. Rachel Carnegie, Co-Director of the Anglican Alliance, was present as a member of the Council.
Addressing the Council, Archbishop Justin expressed his hope that “the Global Freedom Network will be able to bring all those working on these issues into unity.” He said, “In social teaching we have a belief in human dignity – for human beings to be loved, sheltered and protected. No human can be a tool of economic demand.”
Later Archbishop Justin and Rachel met with James Kofi Annan, a campaigner to end slavery and also a survivor of child slavery himself. He gave a tragically powerful account of being sold as a 6-year old child into slavery in the fishing industry in Ghana. Seven years later, after terrible suffering, he finally managed to escape and now runs an NGO which has already rescued 1000 children from slavery.
James said, “I am particularly happy that churches have come together. Both abusers and the abused may come from the Christian community.” Talking about his own work in Ghana, James said: “The ILO estimates that 20,000 children are enslaved on Lake Volta. The figures of slavery are enormous but not insurmountable.”
The next day, in his meeting with Pope Francis, Archbishop Justin spoke of the anti-slavery initiative. He said, “I am grateful for the progress that has been made through the generous support of many, to draw the attention of the world to the evils of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. The Global Freedom Network can achieve much practically to dismantle what you have so often rightly said is a grave crime against humanity. It is a crime that we all need to overcome as a matter of urgency, as a matter of human dignity, freedom and wholeness of life. May God give us the resolve and cooperation we need together.”
Read here for more information about the Global Freedom Network.
During this year, the Anglican Alliance is drawing together all those around the Communion working on issues of modern slavery/ human trafficking to share our insights and to learn from each other and from other faith-based and secular entities working to end this terrible trade causing human misery.
Please contact the Anglican Alliance to share your activities and contacts on this issue. Please let us know if you participate in Freedom Sunday, so that others can be inspired by your stories and pictures.
Picture credit: Stop the Traffik