The Archbishop of Canterbury has sent a message of support to Anglicans meeting in Rome this week to discuss their churches’ work to end human trafficking and modern slavery.
In the message to Anglicans from across the Communion who are gathering in Rome, the Archbishop said tackling trafficking and modern slavery was “a huge and daunting challenge” but one that churches must face.
Archbishop Justin and Pope Francis have jointly committed to tackle human slavery and given their blessing to the Global Freedom Network, the ecumenical and inter-faith initiative launched in Rome in March 2014.
This week's consultation is being convened by the Anglican Alliance and hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative to the Holy See, Archbishop Sir David Moxon.
Archbishop Justin Welby said: “This week you have gathered to consider how our Anglican Communion can be more effective in working together and collaborating with other faith communities and secular partners to end modern slavery.
“It is a huge and daunting challenge – but it is a task that we must face. Evil will thrive if humanity stands by and does nothing while the most vulnerable suffer at the hands of traffickers and slavers.”
The consultation aims to learn about the most effective work by churches around the Anglican Communion in tackling the issue, and agree on recommendations for a Communion-wide response. These will focus on the prevention of trafficking and slavery; protection and support for survivors; prosecution of perpetrators; and policy and advocacy work with governments and the private sector.
Other faith-based and secular approaches will also be explored – including the work of the Global Freedom Network, Caritas Internationalis, the Salvation Army, and the Walk Free Foundation.
The participants will also spend a day in prayer and reflection in the ancient town of Assisi, considering the ministry of St Francis with the most vulnerable and oppressed of his time.
The Revd Rachel Carnegie, co-executive director of the Anglican Alliance, said: "It is truly shocking and heartbreaking to hear the accounts of men, women and children who have been trafficked and enslaved. There are many important initiatives in different parts of the Anglican Communion. This consultation will enable us to learn together from our experiences and to shape a stronger collective response to end this crime against humanity."