British Black Churches back legislation to outlaw modern day slavery
Press Statement, 15 May 2014 For immediate release
At a meeting in the House of Lords, representatives of the UK’s African and Caribbean churches committed themselves to join the struggle to expose and outlaw modern forms of slavery. It is estimated that between 20-30 million people world-wide are enslaved; more than at the height of the transatlantic slave trade. Today’s slave trade is thought be worth around 40 billion US dollars. However, Black Christians in Britain are largely unaware of the extent of it. Co-convener of the meeting, Bishop Dr Joe Aldred of the ecumenical agency Churches Together in England said, ‘I and people like me from the Caribbean are the descendants of enslaved Africans. Surely, of all people, we must now do all we can to liberate today’s enslaved victims’.
The UK is a destination, origin and exporter of modern day enslaved people, which include children, young people, women and men; from Eastern Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and Asia. Among forms of slavery identified were: child trafficking, sex trafficking, domestic servitude and debt bondage. Although the level of public awareness is low, modern day slavery is evident in such as tending cannabis farms, begging, benefit fraud, petty crime, ATM theft and domestic servitude.
Cross-bench Peer Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, co-convenor of the meeting and joint-chair of the Parliamentary Group on Modern Slavery said, ‘I am so pleased that we have now forged a partnership with the Black Christian community to tackle this scourge on humanity. More than two hundred years after the passing of the Parliamentary Bill to end the Atlantic Slave Trade it now falls to us to do the same for Modern Slavery which is the second largest illegal trade in the world’.
The Churches congratulate the Government in putting forward a Modern Slavery Bill, but wish to have a dialogue with Government and members of both Houses of Parliament to ensure that Parliament passes the best possible Bill which will help to stamp out the evil of slavery and give appropriate help and support to its victims.
For further information contact Bishop Dr Joe Aldred on 0777 563 2288 or Baroness Elizabeth Butler-Sloss on 020 7219 3156
The meeting between Black church representatives, MPs and lobbying group the Human Trafficking Foundation took place on Wednesday 14 May 2014 in the House of Lords
Human Trafficking Foundation can be contacted at 01923 810100
Sunday 18 October 2014 will be commemorated as Anti-Slavery Sunday