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Human Trafficking/Vulnerable Women

Volume 619: debated on Thursday 19 January 2017

2. What steps the Church of England is taking to (a) tackle human trafficking and (b) support vulnerable women. (908241)

The Church of England has launched a new project specifically to equip and resource Church of England dioceses to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking. The Lord Bishop of Derby has pioneered this practical support to tackling trafficking. Working together with local charities and the Mothers’ Union, the Church seeks to support vulnerable women alongside those who suffer domestic violence.

Happy birthday, Mr Speaker. I pay tribute to the work of the Church and to the many generous Geordies who help to support vulnerable and trafficked women in Newcastle, which is proud to call itself a city of sanctuary. Unfortunately, it is not enough and not every woman has the support they need. What is the Church doing to work more effectively with local authorities and police forces, which are suffering extreme cuts, to ensure that every vulnerable woman has someone to turn to?

The Lord Bishop of Derby’s initiative I referred to is known as the Clewer Initiative. The objective of the Church is to share best practice in Derby with different dioceses. For example, Portsmouth diocese has expressed an interest in taking up what has been learned in Derby. Tackling trafficking and violence is about spotting the signs. Training will be given to parishioners and to members of the public, so that we all have our eyes opened to what is going on around us.

Adult victims of human trafficking are looked after by the most excellent Government scheme, which is administered on an umbrella basis by the Salvation Army. Many of the people who actually look after the victims are Christian groups. Does my right hon. Friend agree that that is exactly how it should work?

I am sure we all remember the work of Sir Anthony Steen in raising our awareness of the terrible blight of trafficking. It is often down to local voluntary groups to provide that arm of practical support to the victims of trafficking, who are all around us in our society.