Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Church of England protect homeless from trafficking

An anti-slavery initiative launched by the Church of England is supporting night-shelter volunteers to spot the signs of exploitation among rough sleepers.

Over 1,000 posters and educational resources have been distributed in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of modern slavery among homeless people as part of the Clewer Initiative.

According to statistics from the National Crime Agency, the number of potential victims of trafficking and modern slavery reported to the authorities has risen by more than 80 per cent in two years, while a 2019 Modern Slavery Helpline report revealed 7% of the Helpline’s modern slavery cases since their launch in October 2016 were linked to homelessness.

 

The Let’s Talk initiative is encouraging night shelters and other outreach services such as soup kitchens to share concerns of potential human trafficking with the Modern Slavery Helpline or other local support services.

Volunteers are also being provided with guidance to safeguard their guests from danger.

The Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, Chair of The Clewer Initiative, said: “Time and time again in our work around the country we meet volunteers and project leaders who have encountered modern slavery and have either not recognised it, or not known what to do about it.

“With rising numbers of homeless people on our streets, it is even more important that we are able to recognise the signs. With the Let’s Talk resources we will equip the Church to understand what modern slavery looks like, and how they can respond to protect the vulnerable.”

The Clewer Initiative is helping the Church of England's 42 dioceses support victims of modern slavery and identify the signs of exploitation in their local communities.

 

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