Apr 2, 2019
In Episode 4 of Series 4, we talk to the Right Reverend Dr
Alastair Redfern, Chair of Trustees at Sarum College and,
until recently, Bishop of Derby and member of the House of Lords
committee which helped to frame the Modern
Slavery Act 2015.
0.00 – 5.35
Todd begins by asking Dr. Redfern to describe the Clewer Initiative, and
how he became involved.
- The initiative is the Church of England’s response to modern
slavery although in reality it works closely with the Catholic
Church and other faiths.
- In its own words it focuses on “enabling Church of England
dioceses and wider Church networks to develop strategies
to detect modern slavery in their communities and help provide
victim support and care.”
- His participation arose out of his work with the food industry
in Lincolnshire and in Derby. He was approached by nuns from the
Clewer House of Mercy based now at Ripon, who invited him to become
- The initiative, which is funded by the Clewer House order,
involves building a network of modern slavery practitioners to
share best practice and for professionals with expertise in
different fields to work alongside volunteers who are better placed
to provide comfort and emotional support to the victims.
- Todd suggests there are parallels with the Baptist
church in the USA and the Civil Rights movement.
- Dr Redfern sees the role of the church as helping to connect
the police, local authorities, charities and voluntary
- The Clewer Initiative is not a service provider. It aims to
convene, enable, encourage and provide practical support.
5.35 – 7.40
Discussion of the Clewer Initiative’s Car Wash
App as an example of the practical efforts it is making to
tackle modern slavery.
- A simple to use app which can increase awareness of modern
slavery in plain sight.
- The app provides a valuable extra source of intelligence
material to the police
- Todd points out that it is an example of crowd sourcing
technology, which can engage the public with a countrywide reach
across over 16,000 parishes.
7.40 – 10.00
Todd asks how bridges are built between faiths to work on the
problem of modern slavery - mentions The Santa Marta Group as an
example of another faith group that is involved
- Dr Redfern says that working with other faiths is not a top
down process. Many faiths are locally autonomous and not subject to
central direction. It works by inviting people to participate on
their own terms and to use the tools and information provided in
ways that work best for them.
- The approach also requires sensitivity, an understanding of
cultural context when working with different faiths and
10.00 – 13.40
Todd points out that some passages in the bible appear to
endorse slavery and asks how the church comes to terms with
Dr Redfern suggests that the church can approach this in two
- One approach is to say that it was historically contextual and
that times have changed along with attitudes.
- The other view concerns an interpretation of what slavery
means. He sees two forms of slavery.
- The abusive, controlling form or modern slavery
- People in general are enslaved by their own selfish needs and
wants, some of which may be connected to the exploitation of
- He adds that we are all complicit to some degree in supporting
modern slavery for example mobile phones may well have components
that have been manufactured using slave labour.
13.40 – 16.39
8.7 commits to the ending of modern slavery by 2030. Todd
asks Dr Redfern to comment on whether he thinks this is
- He sees this as a political target and wouldn’t want to commit
- He talks of encouraging signs. Set against the backdrop of the
state retreating from the oversight of public life, business is
becoming an increasingly important player in global
- There is a clear inference that consumer pressure may become
important with major companies in moving away from products
produced using slave labour.
- He is less optimistic about the role of policy making in
supporting the process.
16.39 – 19.38
Todd’s final question is about the impact the church,
though its bishops can have on policy making in The House of
- Faith leaders sit on committees that help to frame
- House of Lords includes numbers of appointees with a wide range
of backgrounds experience and expertise which can be drawn upon.
This may be a better model for governance going forward.