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Anti-slavery project takes on shipping

20 October 2017

A new project to tackle modern slavery, initiated by the Church of England, is to include shipping as one of the industries to be scrutinised for potential exploitative conditions for workers employed by rogue owners. The three-year Clewer Initiative aims to engage with local communities to help them to spot the signs of modern slavery. The United Kingdom has law against modern slavery, enacted in 2015, which includes a statutory independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

One of the Anglican Dioceses involved in the project is Portsmouth, which has organised training, provided by the UK’s Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, focused on spotting the signs of modern slavery in the shipping industry. Participants included agencies and organisations working in and around Portsmouth harbour, including the ITF, Mission to Seafarers, Apostleship of the Sea and Human Rights at Sea, as well as police officers and representatives from the National Crime Agency and Ministry for Transport.

The participants exchanged information about ships where the exploitation of workers was obvious but they had not known what to do, and welcomed the chance to make connections with others in the sector.

The Church of England is working on this project throughout the Anglican Communion and in partnership with the Santa Marta Group, an international alliance of police chiefs and bishops working with civil society in a process endorsed by Pope Francis to eradicate human trafficking and modern day slavery.


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