The Global Cause Partnerships (GCP) Team is a dynamic and growing team responsible for building partnerships with organizations committed to fundraising and advocating in support of the world’s most vulnerable children. Partners include service and faith-based organizations, diaspora communities, professional and trade associations and other 501(c)(3) organizations.

 

Reporting to the Senior Director, Global Cause Partnerships, the Manager will identify, manage and grow fundraising partnerships between UNICEF USA and civil society partners, with a focus on faith-based organizations. UNICEF USA recognizes the shared commitment with these groups to ensuring the survival and well-being of the world’s children, and the Manager will develop strategies to build trusting and long-lasting relationships with these constituencies. The Manager will be responsible for developing new and stewarding existing partnerships within this portfolio to meet fundraising and engagement goals in support of UNICEF’s global work.

 

This is a three-year grant-funded position.

For full position description see here

Good Practices with Local Faith Communities Submission

DEADLINE EXTENDED, 30th April 2018

The JLI Refugee Hub is working alongside UNHCR to undertake an analysis of Good Practice Examples of Local Faith Community Responses to Refugees as part of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and Global Compact on Refugees processes.

The first stage of the research will identify and examine one or more examples of good practice in each of 7 case study countries:

Honduras, Mexico, Central African Republic, Uganda, Lebanon, Germany, and Bangladesh.

The good practice case studies will be communicated to UNHCR. We will also be working with local researchers to conduct up to 30 interviews with refugees, hosts, and faith leaders in each country to provide evidence from primary research on the good practice case studies. In order to identify good practice case studies, we invite you to submit for consideration good practice examples and recommended interviewees from the 7 countries.

The form will ask you to provide some brief information on the case as well as interview recommendations in the country. The initial findings will be presented at the UNHCR NGO consultations at the end of June.

Please complete the form by COB Eastern Standard Time on the 30th April 2018.

We hope to invite key religious leaders from the case study countries to the events in late June/early July. Please add suggestions to the interview recommendations on the form, identifying them as a religious leader.

We would be grateful if you could circulate this invitation to your colleagues and networks in or with knowledge of the 7 countries.

Again, the link to the form

We will be in touch again in due course to provide further information about the next stage in this 18-month action-research project. This will include capacity building and training elements.

With many thanks and all best wishes,

Dr. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh                             Atallah Fitzgibbon
University College London                               Islamic Relief Worldwide

JLI Refugee Hub Co-chairs

Developing Effective Partnerships Between Faith and Secular Actors to Challenge Discriminatory Gender Norms and Secure Rural Women’s Rights

The session opened with opening remarks from the Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations, H.E Ambassador Ib Petersen

Followed by a presentation from Dr Selina Palm – Researcher, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa on the recent JLI GBV Hub study funded by UK-Aid on Harmful Traditional Practices and engaging faith leaders to challenge social norms and discriminatory gender practices. Highlighting the need to engage with diverse voices and experiences. Creating safe spaces for diverse opinions in bringing faith voices and secular voices together to address discriminatory gender norms. Further both a public health and a theological approach are needed to address traditional practices that can be harmful to women and girls.

Researchers Leads:

  • Dr Elisabet le Roux is the Research Director at the Unit for Religion and Development Research
  • Dr Brenda Bartelink is an anthropologist and scholar in the Academic Study of Religion at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Lessons Learned from the project 

Highlighted Case Studies: ABAAD, Christian AidIslamic ReliefTearfund, World Vision

Relevant Resource:


________________________________________

Sharing best practices panel

Sharing Best Practices Panel- Photo from ACT Alliance

Barbara Kalima-Phiri – Gender and Inclusion Programme Lead, World Vision International, shared about Channel’s of Hope model mobilizing faith leaders in communities for change. Because of their trust, influence and respect, they became interlocutors for empowering in the church and wider community

 

Duretti Haji– Programme Manager, Islamic Relief Ethiopia, shared their experience with addressing FGM and forced early marriage in pastoral communities in Ethiopia and the importance of engaging men.

 

Kidist Belayneh – Head of Programmes, Norwegian Church Aid (NCA), Ethiopia

  • Spoke on NCA’s program development in Ethiopia engaging the Coptic Orthodox Church and Evangelical Church. NCA’s engagement model started with faith leadership engaging in theological reflection and committing to change.
  • Relevant Resource: Concerted Efforts of FBOs to Abandon FGM & CEFM in Ethiopia

 

Irene Anena – Programme Officer, Church of Uganda

 

Reverend John Joseph Hayab – Faith Leader, Nigeria, acknowledged that harmful practices are not just a Muslim problem, but a Christian problem as well. To address this, the Church in Nigeria uses Muslim and Christian sacred texts to start discussions through the Collective Action for Adolescent girls initiative in Kaduna State.

Moderator: Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda – Founder & Chief Executive of Rozaria Memorial Trust

________________________________________

Mapping the way forward: building strong partnerships between faith and secular development actors to challenge discriminatory gender norms and practices

Natalia Lester-Bush – JLI GBV Hub Secretariat Coordinator moderated the final panel and highlighted social mapping research by Queen Margaret University on a Tearfund social connections program in conflict situations as evidence for the invaluable role of Faith Leaders and the trust conflict-affected and displaced communities place in them.

Panelist Dr Azza Karam – Senior Advisor on Culture and Social Development,UNFPA, shared about lessons learned from their engagement since the inception of the Interagency Task Force on Religion and Development. Diana Arango – Senior GBV and Development Specialist, World Bank Group and JLI GBV Hub Co-Chair, shared about lessons learned from World Bank projects addressing gender-based violence and the need to engage local actors to create sustainable solutions. While Dionne Gravesande – Senior Ecumenical Relations Manager, Christian Aid, shared about Christian Aid’s work in Zimbabwe Council of Churches and ending forced early child marriage and gender-based violence. Lastly, Selina Palm, Stellenbosch, shared on behalf of ABAAD on their work with faith-based actors in Lebanon.

 

 

The JLI Ending Violence Against Children Learning Hub is beginning a Hub scoping study on the roles of religion in ending violence against children (EVAC).[1]

We are gathering literature from academic repositories, and now turn to the Hub members to fill in the gaps. We are interested in any examples that illustrate dynamics around religion and protecting children against violence. We invite you to:

  • Submit relevant materials and references. This is to ensure that we have all the main material covered. We are looking for materials that provide key insights into the ways in which religion affects ending violence against children, such as the role of local faith communities in response. This can include a diverse range of documentation from the grey literature: research reports, web links, policy briefs etc. Please use the following form to submit materials or references.
  • Deadline to submit materials April 27
  • Submit case studies. A case study is a specific example of work from your organization or one of your partner organisations that highlights the role of religion and/or local faith communities in ending VAC.

Case study examples

You can attach any pictures/graphs/infographics or additional materials as well. Cases might cover the following types of examples (excluding refugees & migrants as already covered) :

  • Examples of local faith communities (LFCs) or FBOs working to end VAC. How have LFCs utilised their assets/networks/social capital/volunteer force to plan and implement their responses to VAC? What sort of violence has been identified as their specific focus and why?
  • Examples of partnerships between local faith communities and the wider community formal or informal child protection systems. When do partnerships form and when do they not form? Are their instances of best practices for forming partnerships with local faith communities for VAC response?
  • Define how your organisation understands the terms child protection and ending violence against children as relevant to the focus of the case
  • Give a brief overview of the case study context (e.g. region, dates, principal actors, estimated numbers beneficiaries reached)
  • Give a brief overview of the program/project/organisation/partnership that is the focus of the case study
  • Review the opportunities and challenges of local faith community work/partnerships in VAC response in this case
  • Give evidence of good practices and offer recommendations

 

Participate in an interview or recommend contacts for interviews

*Not all case studies will be selected for interviews but please provide a contact name and email

 

While we invite all contributions on topics related to religion and protecting children against violence, we are particularly seeking information in areas that are gaps in the literature. The list below shows areas where we lack information and seek input through case studies. Please consider the points in the final section and whether you have an example that might illustrate the role of religion in these areas. An initial coding of the broad themes represented in the literature on religion and VAC shows the following:

Table – Literature Gaps – JLI EVAC Scoping  

Areas that are not well documented: 

  • Local Faith Communities Specific Contributions 
  • Global South: Religious-based Perpetuation 
  • FBOs (formal and informal) Engagement with Child Protection Systems 
  • Non-Christian Faiths & Traditional Beliefs 
  • N. Africa, Latin America, MENA, South, SE and East Asia 
  • Boys & Adolescents
  • EVAC Champions/Networks in communities 
  • Child Labour/Exploitation 
  • Family-Based VAC
  • Survivor Support: Other than trauma counseling 
  • Forced Migration, Deportation & Asylum 
  • Orphans, Unaccompanied Children, IDPs/Refugees 
  • LGBTI & Persons with Mobility Limitations 

 

Areas that are relatively well documented: 

  • Advocacy & Education Initiatives by I/NGOs (International Non-governmental Organizations)
  • Awareness Raising Among Local Communities as target groups in I/NGO programmes   
  • Girls Specific 
  • Early Marriage 
  • SGBV Generally 
  • School-Based Punishment 
  • Child Combatant Rehabilitation  
  • Trafficking/Sexual Exploitation 
  • Islam (some) 
  • MENA (regarding refugees only) 

 

Areas that are very well documented: 

  • Christianity
  • INGO work 
  • North America (US & Canada)  
  • Sub-Saharan Africa 
  • Domestic Abuse Prevention & Response (US) 
  • Violence Against Women as Priority Content 
  • Survivor Support: Counseling & Psychosocial 
  • Religious-Based Sexual Abuse (US & Ireland) 
  • Corporal Punishment 
  • Children’s Voices on EVAC 
  • Joint Interfaith Advocacy Networks

 

[1] The full study outline can be found here: https://evac.jliflc.com/resources/evac-hub-scoping-proposal/

Event Date

Monday 12 March

  • Women of Faith Speaking to Structural Change: Empowering Rural Women
    Temple of Understanding (Armenian Convention Center, Guild Hall)
  • Empowerment Stories and Interfaith Actions, United Religions Initiative (URI) (Armenian Convention Center, Guild Hall)

Tuesday 13 March

Wednesday 14 March

  • Faith and Feminism: Voices of Affirmation National Public Radio (NPR) Interview with Randy Cohen – Person, Place (Must RSVP)
  • 8:30 am: Frontline Leadership: Rural Women in the Anti-Fracking Movement, Mining Working Group (Salvation Army,  221 E. 52nd Street)

Thursday 15 March

Friday 16, March

  • 10am: Launching the Global Consultation on the Islamic Gender Justice Declaration, Islamic Relief Worldwide (RSVP Required)
  • 12:15pm: Policy Roundtable of the Faith-Based Community of Praxis on Gender Justice, ACT Alliance (Invite only)
  • 6pm: 4th Annual CSW Interfaith Service of Remembrance and Gratitude, . Sponsored by United
    Methodist Women, NGO CSW, URI, Parliament of the World’s Religions, Temple of Understanding, International Federation of Women in Legal Careers (Church Center for the
    United Nations, Tillman Chapel 44th St and 1st Ave)

Monday 19, March

  • 10am: Building Bridges: developing effective partnerships between faith and secular actors to
    challenge discriminatory gender norms and secure rural women’s rights. Co-sponsors: Danish Mission, ACT Alliance, UNFPA (Ex-Press Bar, UN Secretariat (Entrance on East 46th street
    and 1st Avenue)

    • Presentation from JLI GBV Hub
  • 2:30pm: Human Trafficking in America– Risks for women and girls in rural areas and collaborative prevention by Faith-Based Communities, UNICEF USA, Arigatou International, NY Board of Rabbis (Salvation Army  221 E. 52nd Street)

Wednesday 21, March

 

Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs: Perspectives on Migration

On 22nd January 2018, the Fourth Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs was held at the UN Secretariat in New York. The full-day event was organized by ACT Alliance, the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, the General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, and the World Council of Churches. Co-sponsors were the Adventist Relief and Development Agency (ADRA), the Parliament of World Religions, and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect on behalf of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Engagement with Faith-based Organizations. The focus of this year’s symposium was “Perspective on Migration: Displacement and Marginalization, Inclusion and Justice.”

Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed. Ms. Mohammed opened the event and reported that this was an issue close to the Secretary General’s heart. She acknowledged the ways in which faith-based organizations can bring both their extensive experience and moral voice to the work of providing for displaced people. Other speakers included many JLI member organizations, such as Rev. Dr. Olav Fyske Tveit, General Secretary of the World Council of Church and Mr. Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, General Secretary of the ACT Alliance.

Jonathan Duffy, JLI Board co-chair and President of ADRA spoke in the afternoon session on “Development, Humanitarianism, and Human Rights.” In his speech, he highlighted the work of the JLI in convening on evidence related to religion and refugees and mentioned the new scoping study on this topic. Dr. Olivia Wilkinson, JLI Director of Research, attended the event and spoke to attendees about the scoping study.

 

Working effectively with faith leaders to challenge harmful traditional practices

Date: Thursday, Feb 8 at 9am ET  (2pm GMT) via zoom

Traditional cultural practices reflect values and beliefs held by members of a community for periods often spanning generations. Every social grouping in the world has specific traditional cultural practices and beliefs, some of which are beneficial to all members, while others are harmful to a specific group, such as women.

In 2017, the JLI Gender-based Violence Hub (GBV Hub) led a Department for International Development supported project ‘Working effectively with faith leaders to challenge harmful traditional practices (HTPs)’.

Study Speakers

  • Dr Elisabet le Roux is the Research Director at the Unit for Religion and Development Research at Stellenbosch University
  • Dr Brenda Bartelink is an anthropologist and scholar in the Academic Study of Religion at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands

Discussion led by  JLI GBV Hub co-chair Liz Dartnall (Sexual Violence Research Institute) with Hub coordinator Natalia Lester-Bush (Tearfund)

Join as a member to continue collaborating with the GBV Hub

Brief Summary

Presentation from Lisa le Roux and Brenda Bartelink

Key findings

  • Discussed the use of the term harmful traditional practices creating resistance in communities
  • Role of faith, faith communities and faith leaders in HTPs
  • Effective approaches when working with faith leaders

Study Briefs

Discussion:

  • What is the desired impact of engaging with faith leaders around these texts, and perhaps changing the way that they interpret them? ie. for them to begin talking about them within communities, or individually with people, or mentioning in talks etc?
  • Are the small group based interventions mixed gender, or specifically targeting men/women separately? And secondly, is there any long term studies in this area?
  • How would you go about opening up these sorts of questions when they are so sensitive… what if the members of a small discussion group just do not bring them up? Did Tearfund/ Islamic Relief have any experiences where that would occur and how did they respond?
  • On how to prioritize HTPs in local communities- best to let the local communities prioritize their own issues. It’s their decision whether to work on HTPs. Also acknowledging that faith aspects are a part of local communities and not the sole factor to consider.
  • Many other organizations to be in touch with ex on FGM/C www.28toomany.org
  • Feel free to share more programs and resources on the JLI website

Please feel free to continue the discussion in the comment section and join as a member.

The GBV Hub will also be presenting results at CSW in NY on March 19, more details to follow shortly.

Repost from Refugee Hosts 

Efforts to bring local faith actors (LFAs) into the wider humanitarian apparatus have been a key aim of the localisation of aid agenda. In this piece, Olivia Wilkinson (Director of Research of Refugee Hosts’ research partner, the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities) argues that there is a need to ensure that such engagements provide space for LFAs to remain faith actors, while also aligning them with international humanitarian principles. This requires us to reflect on the histories and values underpinning humanitarian principles, as well as the agency, complexity and nuance of local faith actors and refugees. For suggested readings on this theme, see the reading list at the end of this article, as well as our ongoing series, Contextualising the Localisation of Aid Agenda, for more. 

When Local Faith Actors Meet Localisation: Understanding the Space between the International and the Local in relation to Humanitarian Principles and Religion

By Olivia Wilkinson, Trinity College Dublin and JLI Director of Research 

In late 2016, the Joint Learning Initiative’s Refugee and Forced Migration Learning Hub -a Hub co-chaired by Refugee Hosts’ PI, Dr. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Islamic Relief’s Sadia Kidwai – began scoping out what is known about the place of religion in refugee response. The overarching project was split into two studies: the first analysing religion and refugees in regards to localisation and urbanisation, in recognition that refugees increasingly live outside camp settings and that local faith actors (LFAs) are active in aiding refugees in urban settings; and the second to examine the stages and spaces of refugee experience in relation to religion, to understand the moments at which religion and religious actors play a role in the trajectory of refugee journeys and the places in which these interactions happen. The first part of the scoping study was launched in October 2017 at the “Localizing Humanitarian Response Forum: The Role of Religious and Faith-Based Organizations” in Sri Lanka, which Estella Carpi wrote about in an earlier post in this series. The second part of the study will be launched towards the end of this year.

Echoing Estella’s post, in addition to other pieces published on Refugee Hosts (herehere and here), the study speaks to the opportunities and challenges of engaging with local religious actors in refugee response. The state of the art literature review and the interviews with key experts that underpinned the study found that religion adds immediate complexity to the localisation debate, often in ways that can be controversial and are therefore sidelined. While we found a multitude of ways in which local religious actors provide services for refugees, it is a struggle to find mention of these actors in any of the main documents tied to the localisation of aid (see page 14 of the report for some examples). While the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) includes faith-based organisations (FBOs) as stakeholders, the specificities of LFAs in their different contexts requires detailed analysis that is not included in the use of the broad-brush term, “FBO”.

The challenges faced in engaging local faith actors in refugee response are not new just because localisation is the current buzzword. The reasons why LFAs are not more involved in international humanitarian response for refugees have always been the same: religious actors can be party to the conflicts that drive forced migration; they can be partial in their assistance, prioritizing those of the same faith and overlooking those of other faiths; they can enforce cultural and gendered stereotypes; they proselytize, using their assistance to convert vulnerable people to their religion; and they are overburdened and lack the capacity to comply with humanitarian standards. Some of these points are common to other local actors as they are politically and socially embedded and equally lacking in capacity to keep up with the demands of international humanitarian donors.

Yet LFAs continue to respond to refugees around the world, including in urban environments. If we are to believe in the earnestness of the call to localise from the international humanitarian community, then this must naturally include LFAs. To be involved in localisation, LFAs must overcome, and international actors must equally find ways to overcome, these barriers so that equal partnerships can develop.

From the research, there were several examples of ways in which these challenges were encountered, yet had been, to greater and lesser extents, overcome. To dive in the deep end, it is often held that for LFAs to be fully inducted into the international humanitarian community, they must not proselytise their faith. This standard is of course crucial, allowing humanitarian actors to ensure that assistance is given freely and without conditions.

The literature paints a more nuanced picture however. First, it is often dangerous, or highly disadvantageous to convert. In research from Kaoues in Lebanon, it was found that Muslim converts to Christianity were doubly rejected, both from the Muslim refugee population of which they had previously been part, and the Lebanese Christians in their new religious community. This demonstrates that in many cases the short-term material benefits linked to conversion are soon outweighed by the social disadvantages. In particular, this example shows the important need to recognise the intersections of ‘minority’ and ‘majority’, and how this is ‘read’ and ‘ascribed’ by observers on the basis of ethnicity and other identity markers.

Second, local religious leaders are not necessarily playing a short-term numbers game to gain converts, but aiming to build prolonged relationships within their broader community. In comparison to short term missionary trips from various external countries, local religious leaders embedded in communities do not want to pressure people to convert through their assistance, as noted by research from Kraft, also in Lebanon.

Finally, as Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh has pointed out in much of her research, the agency of beneficiaries has been overlooked. In the Sahrawi refugee camps (in Southwest Algeria), she found that refugees’  political representatives, “mobilized religiously-related claims to maximize diverse short- and long-term benefits both inside and outside the camps,” accessing both material resources and the political support provided by Evangelical American actors in the camps and in the USA.

While this demonstrates a need to recognise the complexity of proselytisation and the nuances of the contexts in which it takes place, it does not do away with the fundamental concern of faith actors tying their assistance to conversion. Most of our interviewees reported having seen or heard about such practices. However, interviewees also explained the ways in which they had still managed to successfully partner with LFAs who had initially included types of proselytisation in their assistance. One interviewee described a negotiation with a local faith actor in which they held a meeting with refugees about their religion, but only after all distributions had been made so that attendance was a choice and not tied to assistance. In their opinion, the method maintained dignity on both sides, recognising that the refugees and local faith community involved in distribution were able to uphold their identities without compromising the distribution. This was a one-off solution, but in another example from the Lebanese Society for Education and Social Development (LSESD), they conducted training on humanitarian principles for LFAs. They reported some initial missteps in explaining the concepts behind the humanitarian principles to LFAs and described how they had learned that specific examples were more effective than providing an abstract description of concepts such as impartiality and neutrality.

On one hand, there is the fear that LFAs will be “NGO-ised” through the localization agenda, to the point that they lose any identity as faith actors, becoming instrumentalised sub-contractors for international humanitarian organisations instead.

On the other hand, there are sensitive ways to conduct trainings that allow organisations to remain faith actors, while also aligning them with international humanitarian principles. This element of complexity in engagement with LFAs shows that international humanitarian organisations must be committed to capacity building in humanitarian principles, standards, and compliance with LFAs, while recognising the agency of refugees and LFAs to interact around and about their faiths, without assuming it is proselytization.

*

Featured Image: Baddawi refugee camp in North Lebanon has been hosting refugees from Syria since the outbreak of the conflict. The Masjid al-Quds mosque – in the background – is at the geographical and metaphorical core of the camp. Masjid al-Quds overlooks the cemetery, the camp’s ultimate shared space in life and death for new and established refugees alike. (c) E. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh 

*

For more readings on the themes explored in this piece

click here for the Refugee Hosts Faith and Displacement series, here for other contributions to our Refugee Hosts ‘Contextualising the Localisation of Aid‘ blog series

Recommended readings:

 

 

Consultant to research the role of religious leaders in efforts to end child marriage

In 2017, Girls Not Brides gathered insights from practitioners and compiled useful resources on this topic. However, we found very few tools to support organisations in overcoming obstacles created by conservative leaders who oppose efforts to end child marriage.
Girls Not Brides is seeking an experienced consultant to start filling this gap, and develop products to support Girls Not Brides members in overcoming challenges related to engaging religious leaders in their work on child marriage. Given the complexity of various religious discourses and landscapes among each religion practiced across the world, this assignment will focus on one of the three major religions in the top 20 countries with the highest rates of child marriage: Christianity, Hinduism and Islam.

This assignment is part of Girls Not Brides’ 2018 online learning series, which encourage Girls Not Brides members to explore one approach to end child marriage every month. Engaging religious leaders will be the focus topic for May. Ahead of this, the consultant will be asked to develop the two products described in this terms of reference, and to facilitate an online discussion with Girls Not Brides members about the early findings from these products. The final products will then be launched at Girls Not Brides’ Global Meeting – a global conference gathering hundreds of civil society organisations and development partners – in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 25 to 27 June 2018.

See Terms of Reference – Child marriage & religious leaders

 Anglican Alliance launches global focus on anti-slavery initiatives in Freedom Year
The Anglican Alliance has produced a Freedom Year booklet to help people engage with the fight against modern slavery and human trafficking in 2018.
Photo Credit: Anglican Alliance

The Anglican Alliance, which helps to coordinates Anglican churches and agencies to work for a world free of poverty and injustice, has launched a year-long focus on anti-slavery initiatives across the Communion. Through its Freedom Year initiative, the Alliance is inviting people to learn more about human trafficking and modern slavery in the world today, pray for change, and take action to end it. A Freedom Year booklet, which will soon be available in Portuguese, Spanish and French, contains monthly themes and activities to “help us to take action, and encourage us join the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery, both locally and globally,” the Alliance says.

The booklet also contains prayer points to underpin the project, and the activities build up to what the Alliance hopes will be “a month of focused prayer and advocacy in July”, which they are calling Freedom Month, culminating in the International Day against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July.

“We hope that this year you will be encouraged to connect with people around the world, to learn from each other, and to recognise the crucial role that churches play in the fight against human trafficking,” the Alliance says.

The initiative is based on “Seven Ps”: Prayer, Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, Partnership, Policy and Participation.

Human trafficking and modern slavery is an international crime being carried out on an immense scale. Last September, a report by the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) revealed that more than 40.3 million people across the world were victims of modern slavery in 2016 – and 71 per cent of them were female and a quarter were children.

The figures also showed that almost 25 million people across the world were trafficked for labour. More than 15 million people were in forced marriages and almost five million people were victims of forced sexual exploitation.

In a video marking the launch of Freedom Year, the Revd Rachel Carnegie, co-executive director of the Anglican Alliance, said: “We invite you to join us on a journey – a journey together when churches around the Communion will work together to tackle the terrible crime of modern slavery.

“Individually it is very hard to do something, but together, and in this Freedom Year, we really pray to God that we can make a difference.”

Resolutions calling for action on human trafficking were passed by the Anglican Consultative Council at their last meeting in Lusaka in April 2016; and last October, at the Primates’ Meeting in Canterbury, Anglican leaderfs described human trafficking as “a crime against humanity which profits from the exploitation and abuse of vulnerable individuals.”

The primates committed themselves “to address this issue in our countries and across the globe.”

The Anglican Alliance is working ecumenically to help co-ordinate action on human trafficking and modern slavery; and works particularly closely with the Salvation Army and Caritas – the Roman Catholic Church’s international development charity. And throughout the world, Anglican provinces are working to tackle the issue in their localities.

Initiatives include a dedicated date in the lectionary of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, an ecumenical initiative to tackle the problem in Kenya, regional consultations with a view to establishing a country- wide programme in Canada, and the Church of England’s Clewer Initiative, which is helping dioceses and wider church networks to develop strategies for detecting modern slavery in their communities and help provide victim support and care.

For more information see the Freedom Year Website

Follow on Facebookand Twitter, using the hashtag #ChurchesAgainstTrafficking