No leader worthy of the name can look the other way while men, women and children are held against their will.
So said Theresa May, addressing the UN International Labour Organisation in Geneva, days before she stepped down as Prime Minister.
The Global Slavery Index estimates there are 136,000 people in slavery in the UK at any one time.
‘The duty of fighting slavery doesn’t simply belong to world leaders,’ said Jared Hodgson, co-founder and CEO of Hope at Home, a national Christian charity fighting the cycle of modern slavery and human trafficking. ‘God calls his church to set the oppressed free.’
Providing the opportunity for churches to practically live out God’s call, Hope at Home, exhibitors at CRE Midlands 2020, equip Christians to host adult survivors in their homes for an agreed time period.
In 2018, 6,993 people were rescued from exploitation in the UK and taken to a safe house – but there is no statutory provision after leaving the house. Many survivors become destitute and extremely vulnerable to being re-trafficked.
‘We step in at that point, preventing homelessness, and place them with our well-trained hosts who provide a room, a family, love and acceptance,’ said Jared. ‘We support our hosts and work in partnership with agencies who support the guest (survivor). Our collaborative approach provides the best platform on which guests can rebuild their lives.’
Several guests have found employment and their own homes.
‘One guest looked for a night shift job because she couldn’t sleep,’ recalled Jared. ‘After a few weeks with her hosts, she slept so well she decided to find a day job instead! Another guest celebrated her birthday for the first time at the age of 42. As her hosts sung to her and presented her with a birthday cake, tears rolled down her face. She felt loved and valued.’
• Hope at Home are on stand P5 at CRE Midlands 2020