The Church of England and the Council for Christians and Jews have decided to support the Clewer Initiative to raise awareness of modern slavery and help to eradicate this.
Conservative estimates of modern slavery in the UK suggest there are at least 13,000 victims in the UK. Victims are forced, coerced, or deceived into difficult and demeaning work in legal and illegal businesses, receiving little or no payment. For example: There are roughly 18,000 hand car washes in the UK, most of which have sprung up in the last 10 years. Many hand car washes are run by legitimate business owners but some are vehicles for money laundering and exploitation including modern slavery.
Law enforcement agencies like the police and the National Crime Agency have seen cases of modern slavery in hand car washes across the country. Those who are trapped in modern slavery in car washes must use their hands to wash cars, exposing their skin to water, heat, cold, and dangerous chemicals in the cleaning fluid. One sign of exploitation is that the workers are not wearing gloves to protect their hands. Workers may be beaten by the hands of those who control them. They are controlled and threatened and are therefore unable to put up their hands and declare their suffering.
Throughout the New Testament we see hands being used as an instrument of blessing and commissioning. As Jesus lays his hands on people, the blind see, the lame walk, and the dead come to life. As the apostles lay their hands on people, they receive the Holy Spirit and are brought into a new life. In the gospel Jesus repeatedly draws our attention to the marginalised and those who have been cast aside by society, those who are unseen.
For more information on the Clewer Initiative and simple ways of getting involved you can download the slavery reporting app: www.theclewerinitiative.org/
19 August 2018