Lambeth Palace

Anti Slavery Day 2021 - Monday 18 October

Every year, Anti-Slavery Day provides an opportunity for individuals, organisations, charities, churches, schools, communities, and businesses to raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of modern slavery, human trafficking and exploitation.

Celebrating a remarkable day of activity and awareness

Up and down the country, churches, Cathedrals, Dioceses, schools and communities have been marking Anti-Slavery Day. This year, the range of events and activities to raise awareness of modern slavery and pray for victims has been truly incredible.


From small exhibitions in quiet Cornish hamlets, to hard-hitting art shows in Salisbury and Bridgwater, a schools’ event in Ely, touring exhibitions in Winchester and Peterborough, bright and bold illuminations in Blackpool, Lincoln, Peterborough, Bury St Edmunds, Bath and London and of course, thousands of crochet chains created by our friends at the Mothers’ Union. We know this is only the tip of the iceberg and many more events, Anti-Slavery Day services, special home groups and seminars took place over the month that we don’t even know about!

So many people took up the challenge to mark Anti-Slavery Day in a bold and fresh way and we hope that through our combined efforts, the existence of modern slavery in our communities will be known about more widely.

Anti-Slavery Day national online service

To date, nearly 2,000 people have watched the Church of England’s national online service that was dedicated to Anti-Slavery Day. If you haven’t seen it yet, please catch up using this link . We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the service including Revd Canon Dr Chigor Chike, The Rt Revd Simon Burton-Jones, Dr Júlia Tomás (The Passage), The Revd Dr Jason Roach, Heather Grinsted (The Salvation Army), Nikki Sweatman (Mothers’ Union) and Kat Gibson and Ros Taylor (Leicester Diocese).

Invisible - our new animation highlighting the many faces of modern slavery

Free resources to support your Anti-Slavery Day activities

Stop slavery

June 2021 update:

Our top five suggestions for Anti-Slavery Day 2021

With less than four months to go until Anti-Slavery Day, we want to encourage you to think about what you could do in your community to raise awareness of modern slavery. To help, we’ve compiled list of our top five ideas:

  • Organise a special church service on Sunday 17th October. This could be an ‘Anti-Slavery Day’ service or a ‘service of light’. Encourage different groups within your church and community (e.g., Guides, Brownies, Scouts, Mothers’ Union, WI) to come and present a light/candle and create a pool of light. This would be a sign of the hope and greater effect we can have when we learn to work together in seeking to notice the unnoticed and to set free the oppressed. It is also a powerful way to collectively embody The Clewer Initiative strapline “we see you.”
  • Illuminate your building on the evening of Monday 18th October – we suggest lighting the building red as it stands out and communicates “STOP.” Consider lighting your building over a number of weekday evenings and encourage other organisations, landmarks, and businesses in your community to follow suit.
  • Women in the Shadows film night – use The Clewer Initiative’s new films, Women in the Shadows, and show them back-to-back on a big screen or via zoom to raise awareness of the plight of marginalised women in the UK.
  • Craftivism – use craft to tell people about the horrors of modern slavery. Encourage local knitting groups or crafters to knit or crochet chains that can be hung around the local area. See an example of what Sue Rees, an activist in Bristol is planning to do!
  • Contact your local radio station and ask them to do a phone in or programme on modern slavery on Monday 18th October.
Could you bring together a group of people to brainstorm what would work best in your city or town?
Could you organise a debate, an exhibition, an illumination, an art competition or a special church service?

If you are looking for inspiration, why not watch our short film about what happened last year in Ely and Lincoln to mark Anti-Slavery Day?

Two amazing case studies

In Lincoln, The Clewer Initiative worked alongside Lincolnshire County Council, the Safer Lincolnshire Partnership and the National Crime Agency (NCA) to bring the NCA’s Invisible People photographic exhibition to the city. By working together, the council and cathedral were able to amplify Anti-Slavery Day and ensure that many different people heard the call to action. The exhibition and illumination marked the beginning of a wider programme of activity in Lincolnshire and in this way, Anti-Slavery Day was a catalyst for further action.

Lincs AS day 2020 1200x768

In Ely, The Clewer Initiative partnered with the team at Ely Cathedral to bring a similar, pop up exhibition to the city. Visitors were able to view the NCA’s “Invisible People: Human Trafficking in the UK” display in the Cathedral’s North Transept throughout Sunday 18 October. There was also a special, livestreamed service to mark Anti-Slavery Day with Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, former Bishop of Derby and Chairman of The Clewer Initiative preaching on the subject of modern slavery. After the service, Shayne Tyler, Group Compliance Director for Fresca Group and campaigner against modern slavery and exploitative work, gave a short presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Shayne, Canon Martin of Ely Cathedral and Caroline Virgo from The Clewer Initiative.

Ely AS day 2020 1200x768

We believe the initiatives in Ely and Lincoln could be replicated across the UK. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if in 2021, dozens of cities, cathedrals, businesses, and community organisations worked together to mark Anti-Slavery Day in their own unique way?

The countdown has begun!

Anti-Slavery Day 2021 is on Monday 18th October 2021 – get in touch with The Clewer Initiative if you want any support in coming up with an idea or building a coalition locally.

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