From Anglican Communion News Service:
The Freedom Sunday resource promotes a day of worship, prayer and action towards ending human trafficking/modern slavery. Together churches and faith groups have developed resources to raise awareness and mobilise their communities so that they can be united in their response to end the worldwide crime of modern slavery.
The Anglican Alliance has been working for the past year with other church denominations and agencies on researching and creating a church resource to hold a day of worship, prayer, study and action on tackling the scandalous issue of human trafficking and modern slavery.
There are estimated to be between 21 and 30 million people caught in slavery in the world today - suffering cruel and brutal treatment in every part of the world.
The Freedom Sunday resource has been designed for local churches and can be adapted for use in different contexts around the Anglican Communion.
Speaking about human trafficking, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said:
“Human trafficking is a grave crime against humanity. It is a form of modern day slavery and a profound violation of the intrinsic dignity of human beings. It is intolerable that millions of fellow human beings should be violated in this way, subjected to inhuman exploitation and deprived of their dignity and rights.
“This outrage should concern each one of us, because what affects one part of humanity affects us all.
“If we are to combat this evil then we must work together to prevent the crime, support the survivors and prosecute the criminals. The knowledge that churches have of their local communities puts them on the frontline in this campaign.
“Freedom Sunday provides churches with an opportunity to join together with others around the world in a day of worship, prayer and action on human trafficking. Freedom Sunday challenges us and resources us to take action to prevent the crime of human trafficking in our local and global communities.”
The Anglican Alliance is encouraging churches around the Anglican Communion to take part in raising awareness and mobilising their congregations to end human trafficking. This day can be held at any time, but can be linked to the following dates:
- 30 July – World Day against Trafficking in Persons
- 18 October – EU Anti-trafficking Day
- 2 December - International Day for the Abolition of Slavery
This year on 30 July 2015, events were held around the world to raise awareness and build action to end human trafficking to mark World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
"Brazilian society must be more conscious about this silent and obscure problem, which amasses at least 30 billion dollars in the world, enriching national and international mafias. Children and adults are lured into a world of dreams that becomes a nightmare. Economic and social exploitation submits them to undignifying living conditions and, many times, to death".
He encouraged the local church to commit to raising awareness and taking action against human trafficking:
"May our dioceses and churches save some time to gather their members and discuss about it, offering prayers for victims and their families. These actions can be done in partnership with other churches and human rights organizations. If there’s no local network against human trafficking, why not organize parish-based groups?"
Also on 30 July and 7 August, the Revd Rachel Carnegie, Co-Executive Director of the Anglican Alliance, ran seminars on tackling modern slavery at the Christian 'New Wine' festival in the UK.
Rachel shared stories of survivors of modern slavery and highlighted ideas of how local churches can get involved in the global campaign. In practical terms, local churches can:
- Study the issue
- Plan a service or community event
- Take action by: Knowing their community; Finding out about local services & helplines for assisting victims of slavery; Raising awareness on prevention; Knowing and spotting signs of slavery and reporting this; Campaigning on supply chains to be free of slavery; Supporting anti-trafficking agencies.
The participants discussed how they would respond, as individuals and within their local churches, reflecting on the Freedom Sunday materials.
Check back on the Anglican Alliance website to learn how the Communion has been using the Freedom Sunday resources.