Mapping the extraordinary contribution to anti-trafficking by UK Religious

A major report has been launched by the Conference of Religious and the Arise Foundation mapping the extraordinary contribution to anti-trafficking work by UK Religious, from front line individuals, to the gifting of properties for the benefit of victims.

The report highlights the inspiring work done by 172 members of religious institutes working on the front line against slavery in England and Wales. This is made up of 144 women and 28 men from 73 religious institutes.

In addition to this contribution, religious congregations have provided 29 properties at a value of over £16 million. Some of these properties have been converted into safe houses where recovered victims are housed and can start to rebuild their lives.

The research also shows that predominately this work is voluntary, with 163 religious receiving no financial remuneration, only nine members hold paid roles.

As a result of the findings in this report, the Conference of Religious of England and Wales, the umbrella organisation for more than 250 religious institutes, have announced that it will set up a UK Network of Religious involved in anti slavery work.

Despite the breadth and longevity of anti slavery work within religious communities this research is the first project to find out the extent of the this work.

Luke de Pulford, director of Arise, said: “Women religious are the unsung heroines of the anti slavery movement. They are active in the worst-affected parts of the world – preventing, rescuing, and offering accompaniment over decades.

“But they are also active in countries of destination like the UK where they continue to make a huge contribution, giving their houses to be used as shelters, and so much more.

“Arise is privileged to have produced this research, documenting the scale of the contribution of religious in England and Wales. We are conscious that these numbers do not do justice to the special character of the work of religious, which is less about numbers and more about the quality of long-term, loving commitment to those on the margins.

“Their voice is sorely needed in this movement, and I hope this report enables them to be heard.”

The report, titled Threads of Solidarity was launched on 12 November.