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Church in Wales Governing Body: Modern slavery

20 September 2019

Adam Becket reports from the meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales in Swansea on 11-12 September

church in wales

Kevin Hyland, Ireland’s represent­ative to the Council of Europe’s Independent Group of Experts on Trafficking

Kevin Hyland, Ireland’s represent­ative to the Council of Europe’s Independent Group of Experts on Trafficking

THE Bishop of St Asaph, the Rt Revd Gregory Cameron, introduced a motion that sought to commit the Church in Wales to take action against modern slavery and trafficking.

He introduced Kevin Hyland, Ireland’s represent­ative to the Council of Europe’s Independent Group of Experts on Trafficking. He said that the trafficking business — of human organs, slavery, and sex — was “booming”. About 40,300,000 people were still in slavery around the world, and 151,600,000 children were victims of forced labour. The Church was playing a central part in addressing the problem, he said.

Bishop Cameron said that it astonished him that there were more people in modern slavery than there were in William Wilberforce’s time.

The Dean of Newport, the Very Revd Lister Tonge, spoke of the work of the Clewer Initiative.

The Revd Phil Bettinson (St Asaph) said that slavers were able to hide in plain sight.

Leslie Sheills (Swansea and Brecon) said that there was no such thing as a “safe country of origin”.
The Archdeacon of New Christian Commun­ities, the Ven. Mones Farah, said that a way of tackling slavery was to tackle poverty.

The Archdeacon of St Asaph, the Ven. Andrew Grimwood, said that felt guilty that he had not taken action against slavery in the past.

The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd John Davies, said that trafficking and slavery were not confined to urban areas, but also occurred in “deep rurality”.

The motion, carried unanimously, read:

That the Governing Body: (i) consider that slavery and human trafficking in all their forms are crimes against humanity, and deplore their continuing existence in the modern world; (ii) commend the efforts of the international com­munity, our own governments, law-enforcement authorities and voluntary societies to combat modern slavery and human traf­ficking; (iii) lament our society’s failure to end the plague of modern slavery, acknowl­edging that ignorance and indifference are forms of tolerance and complicity; (iv) pray for and support cross-sector partnerships, volun­tary initiatives, education and business groups, and all efforts to cooperate and harness good­will to bring an end to modern slavery and trafficking; (v) commit to exploring every opportunity to play our part in working to combat modern slavery, its prevention, detection, and in of­fer­ing support for its victims.

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