Modern Slavery Awareness
Modern slavery is an umbrella term for all forms of slavery, trafficking and exploitation. It is estimated that this could be the reality for 136,000 men, women and children in the UK. Each year the Cathedral holds various anti-slavery events and activities, including awareness of county lines, gender-based violence, and other issues, to see how we can make a difference through awareness, through shopping activities, and in helping spot the signs of exploitation.
In the 11th century, St Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, campaigned to end the slave trade from Bristol, and in our day as part of our commitment to pray for an end to injustice, these events will help us to learn more about the issues around modern slavery and how we can make a difference.
This page contains resources and links (to be found at the bottom of the page) as well as news of our latest Interchange project.
For enquiries please contact Canon Stephen Edwards via email.
County Lines: Interchange Project
As part of Worcester Cathedral's vision to be a catalyst for campaigning and raising awareness on issues of social justice, Worcester Cathedral Learning Team in partnership with The Clewer Initiative, Worcester Community Rail Partnership, Platform and Diocese of Worcester Mothers Union are developing a series of County Lines initiatives targeted at young people. The project is called, Interchange.
Interchange will use the arts as the main tool to engage with young people and challenge them to identify ways to disrupt the County Lines chain. One of the projects of Interchange is the commissioning of a short 5-minute film centred in and around Worcester. West Midlands based film maker, Nicola Prestage (Tiger Features) will be working over the next couple of months to write and create the film, shooting in locations across the county.
The purpose of the film will be to raise awareness of the dangers and to highlight the signs. It will also provide suggestions on how the community could respond if they suspect someone is caught up in County Lines. The film will demonstrate that there isn’t a certain type of young person who may be exploited by criminal gangs, and that all young people are susceptible and could be coerced with false promises and gifts. The film will also be a call to action, asking people not to sit back but to try to stand up and do something.
Alongside the film a series of workshops and teaching resources will be developed that can be used both in classrooms and in less formal settings when working with young people.
The Interchange project is also working with a theatre specialist Richard Compton, who will create, with a small group of sixth form drama students from Kings School, Worcester a piece of Forum Theatre based on real life case studies. Forum theatre provides audiences with the opportunity to step in and try to change the course of action of the play, by offering alternatives and solutions
to the issues raised.
The film, the workshops and forum theatre were premiered as part of a Schools Day at Worcester Cathedral on Wednesday 29th March, where we welcomed young people from secondary schools across the diocese to participate.
If you would like further information regarding the Interchange project or the school’s day on Wednesday 29th March please contact Jo Wilson (Learning &
Community Engagement Officer) at email@example.com
Anti-Slavery Resources and Links
Find out more about past events and resources about modern day slavery, county lines, and exploitation.
Find the film and all the classroom resources from our recent Interchange Schools day by going to this page:
Visit the Worcester page on the Clewer Initiative website for a summary of the Cathedral and Diocese's work.
The Clewer Initiative is enabling Church of England dioceses and wider Church networks to develop strategies to detect modern slavery in their communities and help provide victim support and care.
Clewer Information with regard to Safeguarding Refugees displaced from Ukraine: read more.
Clewer Apps (free to download)
Anti-Slavery International work to end slavery throughout the world. They have projects in the UK and Europe, Africa and Asia, but their campaigning work covers the whole world. Together with local organisations they work to secure the freedom of those affected by slavery and press for effective implementation of laws against slavery.
Material connected with the talks during our awareness week:
What Can I Do? Ethical Consumerism
Signs & Indicators of Modern Slavery & Helpful Apps
Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority: video talk by Lys Ford on Rural Exploitation.
Resources relating to these events can be found on this page.
A sermon for Anti-Slavery Sunday 2022 can be found on the sermons page of this website.
“A Christian consumer’s response to Modern Slavery”
Talk and discussion led by Simon John. Simon is a supporter of Anti-Slavery International and global secretary of RAGAS, the Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery. See Resources section for more information.
Online Prayer Group
Members of local branches of The Mothers' Union meet online for prayer to support these events, raise awareness, and particularly pray for those who are vulnerable to exploitation and modern slavery. You can download the prayer resources here.
Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority Talk
Lys Ford is the senior partnership development manager for the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and talks on the methodology of modern slavery (recruitment, control, and the difficulties that victims have in being identified), what signs to look for in business and in rural communities, how to manage and be aware of the potential risk to agricultural businesses, and what we can do collectively as a community. The talk, is available to watch online (the link can be found in the resources section on this page).
‘Closer Than You Think’ – Prayers and Poems for Anti-Slavery week
Dear Lord, as we see these chains, help us to remember all those who are caught up in modern slavery. We pray for those who traffic and enslave people. Change their hearts and minds so that they treat fellow humans with respect and dignity and not just as a means for financial gain. We pray for those who are enslaved that they will be released. May they know God loves them and sent Jesus Christ to heal them and to give them courage and hope for the future. Amen.
Almighty God, creator of all, help us to share our trust in your love with those in whom your precious image is damaged through brutal exploitation and unthinking indifference.
May our eyes be opened to see the signs of suffering, so often subtly hidden in our midst.
May our hearts be opened to reach out with care and comfort.
May our voices be raised to champion the needs of those who are hurting and to challenge the complacencies and criminality that keeps crushing your children.
Inspire and empower us in the grace of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. Amen.
This prayer was written by Bishop Alastair Redfern and taken, with permission, from Slavery-Free Communities (edited by Dan Pratt)
Chains No Voice
Eyes that look
No longer seeing
Blankness stares back.
I long to reach out to touch your skin
Your life, your soul
To warm the coldness that surrounds
Bones that are weary and sore
Chained to others.
No choices, No voice, No seeing.
I see you and controlled silence supports you
Drowning in the waters of oppression
This is your food to eat
It is the water you drink.
And we are blind
We see you, yet we have not seen.
© Shefali Hollis