Christians lead the way in the fight against human trafficking and slavery

Today is Anti Slavery Day.  What you might not know is that it came about in 2010 as a Private Members Bill by Anthony Steen MP. The bill defines modern-day slavery as child trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude and trafficking for sexual exploitation.

Anti-Slavery Day falls on 18 October each year. It provides an opportunity to draw attention to the subject and to pressurise government, local authorities, public institutions and private and public companies to address the scale and scope of human trafficking.

For the first time to coincide with this year’s event, the Home Office has published the Government’s first ever report on the state of human trafficking.  Regrettably trafficking is on the rise in the UK.  In 2011 946 potential victims of human trafficking were referred to National Referral Mechanism (NRM), which seeks to bring victims out of trafficking and to a place of safety.  This compares to 710 in 2010.  The exact numbers of victims trafficked to the UK is obviously hard to calculate but it is estimated to be around 2000 per year of which 300 are children.  This BBC article summarises the key findings of the report.

It is very welcoming to see the Government taking the issue so seriously.  At the launch of the report, Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: ‘Human trafficking is abhorrent and the UK government is committed to combating this crime in all its forms.’

Below are two infographics explaining some of the report’s figures.  You can click on them to open larger versions.

The Government is working with a range of partnership organisations to combat this exploitation and this year they have been promoting the work of Stop the Traffik, which is a Christian charity set up by Steve Chalke in 2006.  In fact if you do a search on Twitter using #AntiSlaveryDay you’ll find a huge amount that has been happening, but what is quickly apparent is just how much of this is coming from Christian individuals and organisations.  Along with Stop the Traffik, Hope for Justice and The A21 Campaign have all released promotional videos today.  You can see these at the end of this post.

Singer/songwriter Jess Clayton has also released a single ‘Voice for the Voiceless’ to raise awareness of the issue.  Jess works with child survivors of human trafficking and all proceeds from the single will be donated to the TRC Treehouse Project where she works.

The Christian tradition of fighting slavery is long established, with William Wilberforce the hero of the movement.  Christians still continue to fight for those who are being oppressed and degraded through exploitation.  If you want to see an example of the way faith in God moves people to action, then you shouldn’t need to look any further.  The power of the Gospel transforms hearts and causes lives to be changed.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” (Luke 4:18,19)

Thank you to all those who are fighting to end this abomination.  Please do what you can to support their work in prayer and action.



Categories: Christian organisations, Human rights, Justice

Tags: , , , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. Great that you’ve written a post on this. If you are interested in taking a look, I did my own earlier today: Really hoping more and more people are being made aware of the horrible truths of trafficking…

  2. Thanks for that Gillan. Have used your information in a letter to the local press to help raise awareness. Agree just terrible.

  3. Hi guys, we just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for supporting us and posting our video on your page! It’s an honour to be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with you in the fight against human trafficking. – Hope for Justice team

  4. I’m a muslim girl and im moved to tears about what you christians are doing for humanity. Thank you!

  5. One can’t knock the work of those who may be of the Christian faith and have sought to fight slavery, but to say “Christians lead the way in the fight against human trafficking and slavery” is just another example of Christians’ habit of creating self-glorifying myths that are based more on wishful thinking than any real examination of history! – nor of the very good work done by people of no-faith and people of other faiths. If ‘Christians led the way’ then we have to ask ourselves why slavery was adopted by so many Christian countries in the first place. i.e. if there is something intrinsic within the Christian religion that frowns upon and forbids slavery, why did both Latin and Reformed Christian nations build much of their wealth on slavery?

    You note, quite rightly, that Wilberforce, led the campaign to abolish slavery in the British Empire, yet this is rather an over simplification of complex fact – the Quakers and Unitarians were the first real driving force, the Anglican Church couldn’t give a monkeys – nor did many of the Churches in the USA. Wilberforce built on the work of many others. You have to ask yourself what changed people’s perceptions of slavery – was it Christianity? Well if that was the case, then slavery wouldn’t have happened in the first place would it, since the nations and colonies where slavery existed sprang from Christian nations. What changed was the way the individual was viewed – both intellectually and by the state – and we have the Enlightenment to thank for that, not Christianity.

    Even after the abolition of the slave trade the lot of the working classes in the Britain, particularly in industrial centres was little better than slavery – the vast wealth created by the industrial revolution found its way in the hands of a tiny proportion of the population, while workers toiled in squalor – this took place at a time when church attendance in Britain was around 50% and reformed Christianity thrived among the middle and political classes.

    Hence I would be very careful before glorying in the self-magnifying myths Christians seem to revel in. We live in a far fairer and socially moral society than at any other time in history (far more so than when the churches were full and the Bible well known). Hurrah for the work of Christians involved in anti-slavery: but let us remember that it was Christian societies that happily allowed a good portion of the world’s slavery in the first place!

    • I think you make some very valid comments regarding the way that the Church and Christians in the past have perpetuated the problem of slavery, rather than seeking its abolition. Its not always easy to compare different periods in time as slavery has been around since before Christianity even existed. You can’t blame Christianity for slavery, but at the same time you can’t say that Christians have always got it right.

      Mainly I was referring to the current state of play. I’m quite happy to acknowledge that Christians don’t have a monopoly on seeking justice and change for the better, but based on the evidence I saw on Anti-slavery day it was quite clear that many Christians now do care about this issue and want to see an end to trafficking. I wasn’t expecting to find quite so much and discovered Christian charities I was previously unaware of.


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