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We See You: Together, we can end slavery

On Sunday 19thJanuary community activists, churches, community organisations and charities involved in the fight to combat modern day slavery gathered together to say “We See You”.

Jen Williams – Tsedaqah House Community Member - reflects on this event, invites us to attend a vigil on Saturday 14th March and offers us three practical ways to respond to modern slavery.

Victims of modern slavery and human trafficking are often hidden in plain sight. The event helped raise awareness of the crimes of modern slavery and human trafficking; enabled us to spot the signs of those who are potential victims of modern slavery; empowered us to come up with actions to further help combat this issue.

Kevin Hyland, the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, led the discussion at this year’s Memorial Lecture which was organised by the Archdiocese of Liverpool’s Justice and Peace Commission.

The Salvation Army, The Medaille Trust, City Hearts, the Diocese of Liverpool, The Clewer Initiative, the Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership, and Asylum Link Merseyside were among the organisations that gathered to consider a range of possible actions to take.

Slavery is not a thing of the past; it is still happening now, right here, in the UK. Anyone could be a victim of modern slavery. It is estimated that 40.3 million people are trapped in some form of modern slavery in the world today with 136,000 victims are estimated to be in the UK.

Perpetrators target the most vulnerable in our society, deceiving people with hope of a better life when instead they seek to steal their identity and use them to make profit.

Kevin Hyland revealed a failing in the government’s ability to prosecute traffickers and perpetrators. 6,993 potential victims were identified in 2018, a 36% rise from 2017. However, just 42 people had been convicted of human trafficking and modern slavery crimes in the UK in 2018.

We invite you to hear and share the stories of victims of human trafficking and modern slavery and those who organisations who are there to support them on Saturday 14th March,1pm-3pm at Liverpool Cathedral (Lady Chapel) where a vigil is being held to remember victims of modern slavery, through storytelling and art and photo exhibitions.

  • For information about how to spot the signs: visit https://www.theclewerinitiative.org/resourcesand consider printing off a poster to put up in your local church or community centre.
  • We are responsible in many ways for the perpetuation of slavery. In our consumer-centred society which is focused on buying quickly & cheaply and having the latest in fast-fashion, advanced technology, beauty products, often it is our money which feeds in to the modern slave trade. You can check your slavery footprint by taking this online survey: https://slaveryfootprint.org/
  • Our churches and our parishes have a really crucial role in ending modern slavery and helping bring its perpetrators to justice. With our strong connections to our local communities and the relationships we build with each other, we have a lot of intelligence which could be useful to the police and those involved in prosecuting perpetrators. Consider downloading the Safe Car Wash App on your phone https://www.theclewerinitiative.org/safecarwash to help build up a picture of modern slavery activity in the UK.