Medaille Trust and the Archdiocese of Birmingham have launched a special, six-year partnership to raise awareness of modern slavery.
The partnership was launched at a special service to mark St Bakhita day – St Josephine Bakhita is the patron saint of slaves, having herself been sold into slavery multiple times. Garry Smith, CEO of Medaille Trust, and Archbishop Bernard Longley signed a public pledge to work together for the benefit of those suffering from modern slavery. This pledge poster – featuring a portrait of St. Bakhita herself – is now displayed in Cathedral House, St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham.
The Look Up campaign will be highlighted in the deaneries of North Staffordshire, Birmingham Cathedral and Banbury for the first 12 months, before continuing around the Archdiocese.
Churches and individuals will be encouraged to pledge to support the victims of modern slavery and work together towards the eradication of all its forms – and parishes visited by Medaille Trust will be awarded a ‘Make the Pledge’ certificate for their work. The Archdiocese of Birmingham, covering much of the West Midlands and beyond, is the second highest area for referrals of possible victims of slavery outside of London. (Source: UK Home Office).
Rev. Redfern, who jointly facilitated the St Bakhita Day service, said: “Slavery is happening in the shadows, and we are not noticing. Many of us are blind, we need our eyes opened. I salute the work of Medaille Trust. It offers safe spaces. Love, hope, a gentle way into recovery. We have some great systems, but people need love. They are terribly traumatised and need years to recover. Walking on by allows sin to flourish.”
"Medaille Trust offers safe spaces. Love, hope, a gentle way into recovery." - Rev. Redfern
The partnership between Medaille Trust and Archdiocese of Birmingham over the next 6 years will work alongside churches, schools and other social groups across the region to eradicate Modern Day Slavery.
A spokesperson for Medaille Trust said: “We would like to express our sincere thanks to the parishes that have been involved in the start of our journey across the Archdiocese of Birmingham. Your time and support will enable us to continue our vital work to combat human slavery and continue to support the victims, through our safe houses and support work. “Thanks to the increased awareness and partnership work we are seeing an increased number of victims being identified.
We hope that you will join us in Making the Pledge and look forward to meeting all the parishes over the coming six years.” If you would like to find out more, or arrange a speaker to visit your parish, please get in touch.