Through its social development programme the Church of Bangladesh is playing an active role to prevent human trafficking and rehabilitate victims in the urban slum and border areas of Bangladesh.
On Sunday 19th October 2014 the Church of Bangladesh will join churches, individuals and organisations worldwide in a day of prayer and action for Freedom Sunday. You can join the activites by using this resource to take part and mobilise action on human trafficking.
Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of trafficking in the world. Women, men, youth and children are all vulnerable and can be trafficked both within the country and across borders. Slavery, isolation and violence are commonly experienced by victims of trafficking. Just this week over 100 Bangladeshi men have been rescued by Thai authorities from secret jungle camps in Thailand, from where they would be sold and trafficked onwards, some into the fishing industry.
The mission of the church’s programme gets its mandate from Luke 4:18-19, which says: “He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” Working for justice and creating a world of equity and provision – as envisioned by Isaiah – is at the heart of their work, which strives for a world in which the misery of trafficking and modern slavery is impossible.
Activities include: prevention of human trafficking through capacity building; protection for communities through information sharing and legal support; and advocacy and campaigns for justice through social mobilisation and networking.
The programme reflects the strong witness of Christianity in promoting justice and comfort for the vulnerable, irrespective of religion, creed and caste.
The Church of Bangladesh share this story:
‘K’ (a 40 year old woman) was trafficked to Lebanon in 2011. She was forced to engage in sex work. Later with police support she could get back to Bangladesh but the society and her family wouldn’t accept her. While she was struggling to settle back and lead a normal life, the Church of Bangladesh came forward and gave her support in alternative livelihoods, whilst working with her family and society to accept her back. She now lives in peace as an active member of her society. There are many such victims who are being rehabilitated, working with the Church of Bangladesh in association with other specialised organisations who work for anti-human trafficking and domestic violence.
In August this year, Rachel Carnegie, Co-Executive Director of the Anglican Alliance, visited Keraniganj, one of the slum areas of Dhaka in Bangladesh, to meet those who were being supported by the programme. Rachel saw how the Church was working to help the victims of trafficking to rehabilitate and find freedom, as well as the role the Church played in raising the voices of the community and asking for justice.
Reflecting on her visit, Rachel said: “It was harrowing to hear the survivors’ accounts of their terrible experiences of trafficking and slavery – and also inspiring to learn of their courage and how they have been supported by the Church and other partners to recover their lives and livelihoods and a sense of hope. Through their witness, the survivors themselves were helping to educate others on the risks and necessary precautions when applying for work in other countries and communities.”
The local communities in Bangladesh value the commitment of the Church for working to secure their rights and helping them to live with dignity and aspiration.
With a thematic focus on modern slavery and human trafficking, the Anglican Alliance is learning from the responses in different provinces around the Anglican Communion, working to share skills and connect with others, so that we can be more effective working together with both Anglicans and others working to end this terrible and growing crime against humanity.
Please follow the Anglican Alliance website for news of a webinar on Anglican Communion responses to modern slavery to be held on Thursday 6th November at 1pm GMT.