Could you be a modern day abolitionist? Ending modern day slavery in Croydon, Kingston and all London, by Michael Quick (Everyday Croydon) and Akhtar Shah (Everyday Kingston)

If you were to name some of the most profitable organisations
throughout 2014 – 2015 I’m sure Google, Nike & Starbucks would come to
mind. But while Google were delivering the most widely used search engine out
there, Nike were still becoming one of most globally recognised brands and a
new Starbucks appeared to be popping up on every high street, there was an organisation
that outweighed them all. Last year Human Trafficking alone made more than the
3 combined, bringing traffickers an estimated $32 billion.
Many years ago in 1792 after years of fighting from William
Wilberforce the bill was passed by the House of Commons to abolish the slave
trade. We praise God for that very significant day in history which genuinely
put a stop to such appalling injustice. At the same time we have to understand
– to think that this bill put a complete end to slavery would be a costly
mistake.
The UK Home Office estimates that there are still an estimated 35
million men, women & children in slavery across the world. As we consider
human trafficking, we often imagine its victims thousands of miles away, not
realising that many are a literal
stone’s throw from our very own doorsteps
. The Home Office have also
released statistics showing there are (a very conservative) 13,000 slaves in
the UK, although the actual figure is estimated to be closer to 20,000. With
the public knowing very little about modern day slavery and with signs of
activity often going unnoticed, the authorities are only able to reach less
than 20% of victims with any form of support. Worse still, for such a sickening
& lucrative business, only 1% of traffickers are actually convicted in any
given year.
A conference I recently attended called ‘prevention
of modern day slavery in Croydon’ 
brought together hundreds of people
across the borough that deeply care for these victims: from voluntary
intelligence gathering teams to post safe-house support workers, their efforts
are phenomenal.
DS Phil Rashidi (Trafficking & Kidnap Unit SC07, Metropolitan
Police) shared through research conducted on a single day in Croydon in
November this year that there were 176 live profiles in Croydon Town Centre
alone, with each profile containing 2-3 women ready for adult work. Although
not all women would have been there as a result of illegal sex trafficking, he
said previous experience would indicate that large numbers would have been
forced into sex where they are raped dozens of times every day. These women
will often speak little or no English, have all legal documents taken from them
and remain in fear of their family’s lives if they were to ever speak up or try
and escape. One women’s horrific, verified case was recently reported
in the media
 
– be warned,
it makes for harrowing reading as she estimates that she was raped
approximately 43,200 times in 11 years since being lured into prostitution at
the age of 12 in Mexico… 

The truth is that those who are working against the traffickers
are still only scratching the surface and they are are asking for more agencies
and churches to step up in their efforts to find, rescue and restore the
hundreds of victims in Croydon alone. Please pray for Everyday Croydon and
Everyday Kingston as we look to help and bring the life changing restorative
power of Jesus to many of these victims over the coming years.
Michael
Everyday
Kingston, in partnership with Kingsgate Church, has set up Kingston Community
Against Trafficking. Lewis, originally from Croydon, is leading this work with
support from myself & Amy from Everyday Kingston and has been leading
research for Croydon Community Against Trafficking since the end of the summer.
Lewis would have been responsible for gathering the November intelligence
referenced by DS Rashidi of SCO7.
If you
attend Everyday Croydon and would like to get more involved in this fight,
please contact
us 
for info as to how you can
do this. Please pray for the future of Kingston Community Against Trafficking
as well. God has given us a vision for a series of interconnected, church led,
London task forces working together and linking arms to drive traffickers out
of the capital; recent discussions and answers to prayer have led us to believe
strongly that we need to partner with two incredible organisations to reshape
KCAT with an eye to praying and pushing for abolition in London. 
The
first of these partner organisations – Love 146 – is tackling child trafficking
(more to come about these guys in future articles…) in boroughs around key UK
ports through awareness training, liaison with social services and service
delivery; they know that many trafficked children find their ways to big
cities, especially London, but they have not yet established any work in
London. The second is the Cinnamon Network who were responsible for the recent Faith
Action Audits
 essentially
franchise effective church led ministries which bring about social change.
We’re convinced that these two partners will help us to develop a new holistic
abolitionist model which can be repackaged and applied across London and
beyond. While Lewis continues his excellent work with KCAT, as a central team
we will be looking in the new year to transition into a new and original model;
key moments will be the discussions will have in the next 8 weeks, our learning
from Love 146 and our involvement in an annual Cinnamon event for recognised Cinnamon projects in January. While we’re clear that we
need to make these changes in Kingston we also hope to involve people from
Everyday Wimbledon & Merton Against Trafficking, as well as Everyday
Croydon and CCAT, in some of these discussions. In fact, as we now worship in
five different boroughs on a Sunday we’d love to involve people from Everyday
Clapham & Southfields as well! It’s incredible that God has led Everyday to
have some degree of influence among the churches and communities of so many
London boroughs already. Please pray that we will clearly hear the voice of God
in this and that we’ll quickly establish and multiply a new and effective means
of tackling this appalling industry which so brashly and callously trades in
human life.
We’re
still running KCAT and always on the lookout for volunteers to join our prayer,
awareness and research team – contact
us
 if you want to get involved. 

Akhtar

Akhtar Shah

Leadership, Social Action, Evangelism.