The Archbishop of Canterbury sent a message of welcome to the participants who arrived from all over the Anglican Communion to discuss their churches’ work to end human trafficking and modern slavery.
In his message Archbishop Justin Welby said: “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 Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope have jointly committed to tackle human slavery, giving their blessing to the ecumenical and inter-faith initiative, the Global Freedom Network, launched in Rome in March 2014.
The issue of human slavery is a rapidly 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 one of its major global priorities.
This week’s consultation is being convened by the Anglican Alliance and hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Sir David Moxon. It is being held in Rome so that the Anglican participants can connect and reflect mutually with Roman Catholic and other colleagues in the Global Freedom Network.
In his opening remarks, Archbishop David reflected on the Biblical inspiration for the imperative to end slavery and human trafficking. He said: “The Bible brings a strong sense of liberation and restorative justice for people who have been oppressed and enslaved. We are talking about God: the will of God for his people and the destiny he desires for his people.”
The consultation will reflect on the current work by churches in the Anglican 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, and policy work to strengthen legislation. It will also 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.
You can learn more about the consultation by taking part in the interactive webinar on Thursday 6th November at 1pm GMT (click here to register).
This webinar will share the outcomes from the consultation and invite the global audience into a question and answer session to share your views.
There will also be discussion on the way forward for collaboration across the Anglican Communion – including Anglican Networks – and with other faith-based and secular partners.
In the picture: Archbishop Sir David Moxon with some of the participants at the consultation in Rome.