To mark Anti-Slavery Day (18th October 2021), the Mothers’ Union in the Oxford Diocese has spent the summer knitting and crocheting giant chains that symbolise the number of unseen victims of modern slavery across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. The incredible chain will be unveiled next week at Reading Minster.
The Mothers’ Union, in collaboration with The Clewer Initiative (the Church of England’s response to modern slavery), was looking for a way to generate interest around Anti-Slavery Day and raise awareness of modern slavery in a COVID-secure way. It decided to make chain links to represent the estimated 4380 (1) victims of modern slavery in the Oxford Diocese and enlisted the support of its local Mothers’ Union branches to help reach the ambitious goal.
Caroline Virgo, director of The Clewer Initiative, comments: “The Clewer Initiative and Mothers’ Union are united in our goal to end modern slavery in the UK. The craft chain project is a simple way in which we are attempting to awaken local communities to the horror of slavery and challenge people to find out more about the issue. We are often told by frontline workers in statutory services that any way of getting the message about modern slavery to a general demographic is useful. We hope that each chain will result in many conversations about modern slavery and people resolving to take concrete action.”
Maureen Weston, Diocesan President of the Mothers’ Union in the Oxford Diocese, explains: “Anti-Slavery Day provides a perfect opportunity to raise awareness. The handicraft project has been particularly well received because it is a way for people to get involved without having to gather in big numbers or attend events. The eye-catching chains have enabled us to raise awareness of the presence of mode Victims rn slavery to a much wider audience. They are a powerful symbol and we hope that the 1460 links will help people begin to grasp the true scale and horror of the issue in our communities.”
On Monday, 18th October, Anti-slavery Day, the chain will be unveiled at an exhibition at the Reading Minster Church by Maureen Weston, diocesan President of Mothers’ Union. The exhibition will then tour different churches across the Diocese during the following weeks.
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Notes to Editors
For more information about modern slavery, visit Mothers’ Union partner, The Clewer Initiative, https://theclewerinitiative.org/
For information on the partnership between the Mothers’ Union and The Clewer Initiative, visit https://www.mothersunion.org/projects/mothers-union-clewer-partnership
The Clewer Initiative
The Clewer Initiative was launched in 2016 as the Church of England’s response to modern slavery. The Clewer Initiative exists to mobilise the Church and communities to take action against modern slavery. We aim to share learning, signpost best practice amongst our partners and contribute to policymaking and more effective legislation.
The Clewer Initiative works in varying ways with the Church of England’s 42 dioceses as well as with other denominations, faith groups and community organisations. It shares learning and knowledge through its network and helps support community-based projects.
The Clewer Initiative is funded by the Clewer Sisters, an Anglican order of Augustinian nuns founded in 1852 to help marginalised, young women who found themselves homeless and drawn into the sex trade.
1 This figure is based on the Global Slavery Index which estimates there are 136,000 victims of modern slavery in the UK. The population of the UK is 66.65million. The population of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire is 2.14million. Calculated as a proportion and assuming the victims of slavery are evenly spread across the country, this would mean approximately 4380 victims in the Oxford Diocese.