Crochet chain

In the middle of a chain reaction

9th August 2021 | Anti-Slavery Day

To mark Anti-Slavery Day 2021, the Mothers’ Union of Bristol has set itself the ambitious task of making 951 chain links to represent the 951 unseen victims of modern slavery in Bristol.

The Clewer Initiative

Aurea Hart, the Diocesan President of the Bristol Mothers’ Union, was inspired by Sue Rees’ article on craftivism in The Clewer Initiative’s May newsletter.

In the article, Sue shared her hope of crocheting dozens of chain keyrings and leaving them around Bristol in the lead up to Anti-Slavery Day for people to find and take home.

At a meeting between Caroline Virgo, director of The Clewer Initiative, Claire Walford of The Clewer Initiative and Aurea, juices got flowing and the idea of creating a giant crochet chain emerged. They liked the idea of making a chain that reflected the number of modern slavery victims in Bristol. Using the national figures about the scale of modern slavery in the UK and combining it with the population of Bristol, the team calculated the potential number of victims in Bristol.

In early August, Sue Rees ran a Zoom workshop for the Mothers’ Union of Bristol to demonstrate how to make the crochet links plus providing information on what size hook and yarn to use so that the links are a standard size. They hope that many crafters will get involved, using up old balls of yarn.

Aurea Hart explains: “I am excited about this idea because it will help bring to life this horrific statistic. It is also a practical way that the Mothers’ Union can get involved in raising awareness of modern slavery across the city during Covid times when many of our members are not able to get to big events or network widely. At the Mothers’ Union, we are passionate about using craft to answer a need or provide comfort and in the past some of our members have knitted teddies for children facing all sorts of difficulties including refugee children; created prayer shawls for people in hospital and baby clothes for neonatal wards. This craft project is something new for us, but we believe it could have a big impact, both as we crochet and reflect on the plight of modern slavery victims, and when the final chain is displayed.”

The deadline for the chain links is early October. At that point, Sue will link them together in time for a photo call at Bristol Cathedral, in the lead up to Anti-Slavery Day. The team hopes that this eye-catching stunt will help people understand the enormous number of unseen victims in the city of Bristol, most of whom do not enter the National Referral Mechanism.

If you would like to crochet some giant links and send them to the team in Bristol, please get in touch (before you start crafting) via and we can give you know more information.

If you live in a different city, could you create a similar chain to represent the modern slavery victims in your community?

Sign up for our newsletter

Get regular news and updates straight to your inbox

Sign up now