The Exeter story

The Diocese of Exeter is working on a wide range of injustice issues, including modern slavery.

Key Contact: Chris Forster

Email: chris@transformingplymouthtogether.org.uk

The Diocese of Exeter is working through their joint network with the Church Urban Fund, Transforming Plymouth Together (TPT) .

TPT has modern slavery and human trafficking as one of its six key themes and works through the asset-based community development methodology.

Prayer and action

The Diocese of Exeter encourages people to pray for the victims of modern slavery, and for those helping to end it. They are keen that people pray in an informed way: intentionally, earnestly and directly. TPT ask that all churches in the diocese come together and spend time within worship to pray, reflect, and act: pray for an end to modern slavery, and reflect on how Christians can act to bring an end to this crime. To enable this, Bishop Robert Atwell wrote a prayer which was sent to every Anglican church in the diocese, and every church in Plymouth.

Raising awareness in the city of Plymouth

Plymouth is a beautiful city with some significant challenges. It is a dispersal city for many refugees and asylum seekers, a number of whom are very vulnerable to modern slavery. In one case, five Romanians were trafficking people from Romania to Plymouth, to work illegally and against their will. TPT are working to raise awareness among the local population that modern slavery can happen in their own town, or on their own street. TPT work to engage local residents directly: for Anti-Slavery Day 2019, they set up a large awareness raising marquee in the centre of the city.

Delivering Hidden Voices training

TPT have worked in partnership with The Clewer Initiative to deliver Hidden Voices training to individuals from all over the country. The training was delivered over the course of two days at Buckfast Abbey, and covered four key areas: understanding modern slavery; prevention; detection; and restoring dignity. TPT hope that this training will help the diocese on its journey from awareness raising to action.

Forming new partnerships and groups

TPT are part of both Safer Plymouth and the local Anti-Slavery Partnership, both of which bring together statutory agencies, law enforcement, and others. They are also keen to engage ecumenically, and have formed a group with local churches. Chris Forster TPT’s Strategic Lead Officer, has worked closely with the police on a range of initiatives.

TPT want people to work together on modern slavery, rather than leave it to a few groups or individuals. They see their role as engaging, enabling, and encouraging. Chris explains that “you can empower yourself, and God can empower you, to get out and engage with the community on social action issues, and to support the city.”

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