Hidden Voices: How can parishes respond to modern slavery?
Last week we joined The Clewer Initiative to learn about their new resource Hidden Voices which aims to answer this question.
The resource was created by Mosaic Creative to inspire and equip churches to respond to modern slavery locally.
The course covers four modules: Understanding Modern Slavery, Prevention, Detection and Restoring Dignity, each containing Biblical reflections and practical tools to help parishes work alongside the community.
Learning how to create a culture of prevention was a key part of the training. This can be done by parishes in a number of ways, firstly through raising awareness of modern slavery and that slavery is an issue that is not only global but also local and could be affecting people in any parish community.
Secondly, slavery proofing existing parish and community projects, making sure that vulnerable people who may be at risk of being lured into modern slavery are protected. For example, if a parish runs a night shelter or a soup run could the parish raise awareness of modern slavery to the volunteers and beneficiaries and be on the lookout for the signs of modern slavery. This raising awareness would ensure that if an issue did arise the community would know how to respond appropriately and culture of awareness would be a deterrent in itself.
The course ends with a section on restoring dignity and emphasises the key role that parish communities and the wider Christian churches can play in supporting survivors of modern slavery. The underlying message of the training resource is that parishes have the capacity to build safe, caring and inclusive communities that are free from slavery.
SMG team member Phoebe Prendergast reflects on this experience:
“It was encouraging to see so many engaged people from dioceses across the UK wanting to drive forward anti-slavery work in their communities. This resource encourages parishes to think about their role in combatting modern slavery and how they can make a practical difference.”
Learn more about Hidden Voices and how you and your parish can get involved here.