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Children to be taught about modern slavery, and how to identify it, in schools

26 October 2018

Church of England

Children record the specially composed “Freedom Song”

Children record the specially composed “Freedom Song”

CHILDREN are to be helped to learn about the dangers of modern slavery and how to spot it, through new resources released by the Clewer Initiative.

Lesson plans for primary-school children include teaching about modern slavery through the questions: “How did slavery become such a big part of our lives? How did we allow it to become something we started to accept?”

Secondary-school children will be taught about urban slavery and how to identify it, and how “modern-day slavery will have been involved in the making of our clothes, devices, food, or simply anything we buy or own.” Those at sixth-form level could be taught about slavery in the sex trade, and about trafficking.

The resources were launched last week at Lambeth Palace. They also include the specially composed “Freedom Song”. Children will be encouraged to record their own version of the song for a competition, to be judged by the Revd Kate Bottley and Frank Cottrell-Boyce.

One primary and one secondary school will be chosen to record their version of the song professionally; and £1000 in vouchers will be awarded to fund learning sessions.

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, said last week: “I hope schools across the UK will welcome this opportunity to sing for freedom, while learning about how to end modern slavery. In my work with young people, I am always amazed and encouraged by their passion and commitment to working towards a better world.

“I am delighted that this song competition, and the accompanying modern-slavery schools resources, will enable young people to bring their enthusiasm and dedication to this urgent topic.”

The Clewer Initiative was founded last year  to combat modern slavery, and is chaired by the former Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern (News, 20 October 2017). In June, it launched an app to help churchgoers to spot exploitation at car washes (News, 4 June).

Dr Redfern told the ACNS: “Children are vulnerable by definition, but they are particularly vulnerable to trafficking. A third of the people trafficked in 2017 were children. Ten million children worldwide are in slavery. So it is happening.

“Many people don’t notice it, and in the school environment there are tragic cases of young people being abused, being oppressed, but going to school and nobody noticing.”

The charity’s head of education and training, Ele Girling, said last week: “We never scare and shock the children: that is never the idea. It is about telling them what is happening, and what they can do about it, and giving them that safe space to talk to their teachers [and] to talk to their parents.”

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