A One Church Approach to combatting human trafficking

July 8, 2022: Catholic Anti-Trafficking Forum Meeting

The meeting was recorded and I assume that we will have full notes in time for the next one.

I counted 28 attending, but of the 15 dioceses who attended the October 2019 Conference I only noted Salford, Portsmouth and Birmingham.  Most delegates were from organisations with a victim orientation.   However, the importance of the Forum was highlighted by the presence of the usual key figures – Cardinal Nichols, Bishop William Kenny, David Ryall, Raymond Friel, Kevin Hyland, Linda Dearlove, and of course Arise representatives including Luke de Pulford.  We now also have Peter Fahy, trustee of Salford Diocese and Caritas Salford who also chairs the recently formed Salford Diocese modern slavery group (name yet to be agreed).

Since October 2019 the emphasis has shifted away from a diocesan focus – the original Salford conception was largely diocesan – to a victim-orientated one.  Much of the meeting was about the business model of modern slavery and national and international legislation.

My fuller notes are here.

The final “Declaration” can be found here

Anthony Brown

February 22, 2022: Catholic Anti-Slavery Forum (One Church Approach Meeting)

[Update to Bishop John and his reply]


Thank you for this information. What a serious problem, and getting worse. But organisation like this, and networking, will surely have an impact.


Dear Bishop John

Attached are my notes of the most recent Anti-Trafficking Forum.  The last Forum was on May 27, 2021.  I have been disappointed in slow progress particularly with the Partnership Declaration and Luke de Pulford invited me to raise this on Tuesday.  He felt that it was an issue to be raised from within the group rather than from Arise.  We can now expect the Declaration after the next meeting in 3 months’ time.  On a more positive note I spoke about our Modern Slavery Statement which was very timely given the subsequent wide ranging discussion on supply chains.

I think that this group is, at last, starting to gain momentum and I am very pleased to be part of it.   We are to have meetings every three months with more emphasis on sharing and working in special groups.

Best wishes

Anthony Brown

Modern Slavery Representative, Caritas Diocese of Salford

You can access the Notes here

May 27, 2021: One Church Approach Meeting

[Email update to Bishop John and his reply]


Many thanks for your report on the Anti-Slavery Forum, and for all the work done by the Diocesan Caritas. It is very encouraging though there remains a mountain to climb in combatting modern slavery.

Thank you for the good news


Dear Bishop John

The meeting was a follow on from the Salford Diocese initiated In Plain Sight Conference in October 2019. Although it has been a long time coming I am pleased to see that Luke de Pulford has taken on responsibility and funding and will take the partnership Declaration forward under the Arise banner.

I was also pleased to see the presence of Cardinal Nichols, Bishop Pat Lynch and David Ryall along with other CBCEW representatives, CSAN and SMG. In addition to Salford, the dioceses of Nottingham, Middlesbrough, Southwark, Northampton, Lancaster, Plymouth, Brentwood, Birmingham and Westminster were represented. Around 25 delegates spoke for one minute on what they had to offer and what they would like from others. Rather than networking the he emphasis was very much on sharing and partnership working and all present seemed to fully subscribe to that.

In one minute I couldn’t possibly cover what we have achieved in the last 7 years so I referred back to my earlier In Plain Sight conference presentation offering my PowerPoint from that plus our recent reports on achievements and strategy, our County Lines special briefing paper, the Homelessness trafficking audit and our Modern Slavery Statement.

My concern for increased influence in churches and schools and stronger emphasis on Gospel teaching and CST was expressed by a number of those present. I was pleased that a number of delegates shared my belief that the need to link faith in action with social justice is much underrated.

Although we have some things we can learn from others present at the meeting I was left with the impression that as a Diocese we have achieved a great deal more in the fight against human trafficking than any other diocese. More importantly we are much more aware of lessons learned and the difficult task ahead.

I think that Luke had hoped we would agree the Declaration at the meeting but there were a couple of late comers seeking amendments. One of them was myself – wondering if FtCG was a better backcloth to the Declaration than CST given the importance of the partnership we now want to build with Clewer – so agreement of the Declaration was delayed. There was no deadline and I hadn’t realized that we were to be presented with the latest draft for final approval!

I was very encouraged by the meeting and I think that we should be proud that, even though there is no longer any acknowledgement of it, without Mark Wiggin’s inspiration we would not be where we are now. We are on the road to genuine partnership working, sharing resources and seeking help from those who have it to offer.

Best wishes


February 20, 2020: In Plain Sight Follow-on Meeting

Mark Wiggin represented Caritas Anti-Trafficking at this meeting.  Full notes of the meeting have not been made public whilst discussions continue but you can see information sent to the delegates who attended the In Plain Sight Conference on October 15 2019 here

February 12, 2020: Towards a One Church Approach Conference call

A meeting to finalise details for the upcoming meeting with key delegates from the In Plain Sight Conference, on February 20.  The February meeting 20 meeting is to take forward plans for Towards a One Church Approach to Human Trafficking which is the term we are currently using to describe our plans for partnership working across the dioceses and Congregations of Religious

December 10, 2019: In Plain Sight Conference (October 15) summary

A summary of the conference went out to delegates today along with the remaining slides/speaker notes.  See the summary here.  For slides/speaker notes contact ModernSlavery@caritassalford.org.uk

The next steps are:

  • Bringing together the conference findings in the light of Pastoral Orientations and producing a discussion document for consultation on the best way of combating human trafficking via effective partnership working.
  • Producing a consultation document with a view to achieving a declaration by all Catholic dioceses, Catholic congregations of religious, Catholic organisations. The document will outline a common approach on advocacy, awareness raising and encouraging slavery-free supply and consumption and emphasise the development of shared resources and the pursuit of joint programmes and projects. The declaration would commit to working together, with common aims and unified practices, to bring an end to human trafficking and modern day slavery in England and Wales.

November 13, 2019: In Plain Sight Conference follow on

Zoom meeting between Caritas Salford, CSAN and Arise to agree the way forward,  We will be in touch with delegates shortly.

October 15, 2019: In Plain Sight – A Conference to promote Catholic responses to Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking

This Caritas inspired conference, planned and organised by Caritas Anti-Trafficking and the Catholic Social Action Network, was extremely successful with ten speakers keeping to time leaving the full two hours for workshops, plenary and closing address from Cardinal Vincent Nichols.  The Cardinal concluded by saying that the work of this conference was opening the door to the next phase.

See the programme a summary of the day  and a press release

From left to right:  Anthony Brown (Caritas Salford Anti-Trafficking), Phil McCarthy (CEO, CSAN), Peter Hugh Smith (CEO, CCLA),  Cardinal Vincent Nichols,  Andrew Adams (Research Assistant: Ethical and Responsible Investment, CCLA),  Sion Hall (Chair, Pan Lancashire Anti-Slavery Partnership), Luke de Pulford (Director, Arise Foundation).

August 27, 2019: Update on Inter-Diocesan Conference on Human Trafficking and Modern Day  Slavery

See below – June 17 and July 5 – for early discussions on this conference which is being organised by the Catholic Social Action Network and sponsored by CCLA Investment Management Limited.

In Plain Sight is on October 15 at CCLA in London.   The conference is aimed at Catholic Dioceses in England and Wales and Catholic charities that can  support a Diocesan approach to tackling Modern Day Slavery at a diocesan and parish level and will look to develop a strategy under the headings of:

  • Church/diocese
  • Parishioners
  • Education, particularly schools and young people
  • Catholic employers and Diocesan supply chains

These themes are inspired by Pastoral Orientations in Human Trafficking.  See an abbreviated version developed for the Conference.

July 5, 2019: Planning for an inter-diocesan conference on human trafficking

Mark Wiggin, Sion Hall and Anthony Brown met with Sir Peter Fahy to mull over some issues about the role of the Diocese in planning our strategy for a Diocese free of modern day slavery by 2025.  Peter is a member of the board of trustee of Salford  Diocese which takes in Caritas Salford.

We had a wide ranging discussion on how the Catholic Church needs to respond to modern day slavery and  how we might use the inter-diocesan conference in autumn to guide our priorities and actions.

Read more here  

June 17, 2019: Proposal for a joint conference for diocese and parishes on Modern Day Slavery

Telephone meeting with Mark Wiggin (Caritas),  Phil McCarthy (Catholic Social Action Network, Mick Duthie  (Santa Marta Group), Garry Smith (Medaille Trust), and Anthony Brown (Caritas anti-Trafficking) to discuss the aims and an outline programme for a conference in September.  We agreed that the conference should be a Roman Catholic conference aimed at people already involved and should focus on learning from best practice.   We should aim to come away with more of a strategic direction and a greater commitment  to collaboration.  CSAN will take the lead on organisation and the probable location is Birmingham