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IC2023 concludes

First published on: 7th February 2023

USPG ends IC2023 with member churches across Anglican Communion committing to work together to tackle human trafficking

Friday 4th February saw 15 Primates and 29 delegates representing member churches from across the Anglican Communion end their time at USPG’s International Consultation - Set my People Free: The Call of the Church against Human Trafficking, taking all we had learnt in our time together to formulate a communique signed by all attending. Those attending recognised that human trafficking and modern-day slavery are global problems and one that churches have a key role in tackling in collaboration with government, agencies and other organisations. 

In 2019, the United Nation’s report on human trafficking showed that there was a steady increase in the numbers of victims of trafficking globally and that 30% of these victims are children, indicating that this problem is not going away and cannot be ignored.  

The consultation, which was held in Dar Es Salaam was hosted by the Anglican Church of Tanzania and was opened by His Excellency Dr. Philip Mpango, Vice President of Tanzania. It provided opportunities for senior leaders in the Anglican Communion to reflect on contemporary human trafficking through the voices and experiences of those working to tackle human trafficking, including Dr. Anna Peter Makakala, the Commissioner General of Immigration of the United Republic of Tanzania.  International contributions included presentations from different churches, such as the Middle East, New Zealand, Church of North India and Argentina. Delegates heard about different approaches and actions from organisations and explored its many dimensions and nuances within different continents and country contexts.

The delegation also made a pilgrimage to Zanzibar where they spent time in deep reflection and prayer at Christ Church, which occupies a large area of what used to be the biggest slave market in Eastern Africa. 

As a message of intent from the consultation and to ensure continuing momentum in this field of work, those present signed a Communique to highlight the ongoing responsibility of churches and their leaders to take things forward; acknowledge and repent for the Church’s historic and continuing complicity in the enslavement of people; and commit to work together to learn and raise the issue of human trafficking and modern-day slavery within our member churches. USPG will provide support and resources to allow this work to take place. 

A key theme from speakers across the week was the importance of collaboration. The Communique seeks to ensure that a priority is to support survivors by working together with a wide range of partners, including those with lived experiences, civil society organisations, ecumenical and inter-faith partners, to address human trafficking, focussing on preventive and restorative measures. 

The Most Reverend Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada said; 
This week has seen us walk together as a group seeking to understand more deeply the power and consequences of human trafficking – from our history in slavery over the centuries to its modern forms of sex trafficking, migrant worker, and refugee exploitation. I welcome the commitment from member churches across the Anglican Communion to tackle this issue together with clear actions we can take back to our churches and our communities.

Duncan Dormor, General Secretary of USPG said:
Over the course of the week, we listened to those who work to address the issues involved with human trafficking and modern slavery, often in extremely complex and dangerous situations. The communique commits the attending representatives and their churches to work together across the world to address human trafficking and modern slavery by speaking out, working with governments and other agencies, developing networks to share best practices and producing resources to support the work. Collaboration is an essential dimension to tackling the evil of human trafficking. Churches have an important part to play, both in partnering with others locally and regionally, and in working together across the Communion. 

Read the communique in full here.


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