On 7th July 2016 the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, answered a written question from Jim Shannon MP on human trafficking:
Jim Shannon (Strangford): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps are being taken by the Church of England to tackle human trafficking.
Mrs Caroline Spelman: In March 2014 the Archbishop of Canterbury, with Pope Francis and other global faith leaders, gave their backing to the Global Freedom Network (www.globalfreedomnetwork.org), a ground breaking ecumenical initiative to combat modern slavery and human trafficking. The Archbishop is planning an international conference in 2017 with the Ecumenical Patriarch. Continue reading “Church Commissioner Written Answer: Human Trafficking”
On 7th July 2016 Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, in her capacity as Second Church Estates Commissioner. Questions were asked on out of school settings, human trafficking, women bishops, bishops in the House of Lords, poverty and church toilets.
Mr Speaker: Order. We come now to questions to the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the right hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), representing the Church Commissioners, and to the right hon. Member for South West Devon—[Interruption.] I mean the hon. Member for South West Devon (Mr Streeter)—it is only a matter of time—representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission.
The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners was asked— Continue reading “Church Commissioner questions: Out of school settings, human trafficking, women bishops, House of Lords, poverty, church toilets”
On Wednesday 15th June 2016 the House of Lords debated the Report from the European Union Committee The EU Action Plan against migrant smuggling (4th Report, Session 2015–16, HL Paper 46). The Bishop of Sheffield, Rt Revd Steven Croft, spoke in the debate:
The Lord Bishop of Sheffield: My Lords, I welcome the two reports before us in all their complexity and I thank the members of the European Union Committee for their expertise, which is already evident in this debate. I particularly welcome the committee’s recommendation in paragraph 8 that the mandate of Operation Sophia is reviewed and renewed, along with the EU’s subsequent decisions. Clearly, this operation alone cannot be the complete answer to the challenges that we face. However, the European Union must not return to the position that it held before the Lampedusa tragedy of apparent indifference to those who seek to cross the Mediterranean in danger of their lives. Nor can we neglect the spread of people-smuggling on and across our borders. Continue reading “Bishop of Sheffield speaks on Church response to the migrant crisis”
On 21st March the House of Lords considered the Government’s Immigration Bill at Report Stage. Labour Peer Lord Dubs tabled an amendment to require the Secretary of State to make arrangements for relocating 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children to the UK, from other countries in Europe. The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, co-sponsored the amendment, speaking and voting in support. In the subsequent Division the amendment was agreed by 306 votes to 204.
Continue reading “Immigration Bill: Bishop of Chelmsford supports amendment to provide for unaccompanied refugee children”
On 26th & 27th October 2015 the Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, received written answers from Government to questions on benefit fraud.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many reports of benefit fraud have been submitted to the Department for Work and Pensions between 2010 and the most
recent date for which figures are available. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby asks questions about benefit fraud”
On 15th October 2015 Baroness Doocey asked Her Majesty’s Government “whether there has been an increase in the number of cases of child trafficking reported since the Modern Slavery Act 2015 was passed.” The Bishop of Derby, Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, what is being done to ensure that the responses of police forces to their new responsibilities is uniform across the country, because it may be very patchy with budget pressures? Will the Government take a lead to ensure a uniform response of police forces to these responsibilities across the country? Continue reading “Bishop of Derby asks about police responses to reported cases of child trafficking”
On Monday 1st June 2015 Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty’s Government what progress they and their international partners have made in deterring the trafficking of migrants and creating safe havens in North Africa and the Middle East. The Bishop of Norwich asked a supplementary question:
The Lord Bishop of Norwich: My Lords, what will become of the refugees and migrants who are trapped in Libya? Since neighbouring countries have closed their borders and current plans are to sink the boats that are smuggling people from Libya, are these refugees and migrants simply consigned to certain abuse and death? Can we do nothing at all to help them? Continue reading “The Bishop of Norwich presses Government on Humanitarian Aid for Libya”
On 10th December 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the Committee Stage of the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill. The Bishop spoke in support of an amendment to put a new National Referral Mechanism on a statutory footing, and also raised questions about how the Government’s approach towards tackling slavery could be better integrated with safeguarding awareness. The Bishop had previously spoken in the Bill’s Committee Stage, and his remarks can be read here.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I will contribute briefly to the debate. I hope the Government will take the time to take seriously the NRM review. Jeremy Oppenheim has made some crucial insights, particularly about the 45 days being used as a period for deciding about judicial processes, not a period for nourishment and proper support. Therefore, we need to think very carefully about how we pitch the 45 days or whatever period it is, alongside a commitment to support victims on a longer timescale. He also made an important point about the concept of safeguarding, just referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Warner. I have spoken about this before in the House. It would be very helpful for everybody if we could connect what we are doing about slavery with the culture of safeguarding awareness. I very much support the suggestion from the noble Lord, Lord Warner, about what we call this mechanism. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby calls for strong National Referral Mechanism to support efforts to tackle modern slavery”
On 1st December 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the first day of Committee Stage for the Modern Slavery Bill. A former member of the Joint Select Committee that undertook the pre-legislative scrutiny of the bill, the Bishop spoke in favour of three amendments to the bill – one relating to ensuring that the legislation is ‘victim focused’, the second – recommended by the Joint Select Committee and co-sponsored by the Bishop – to create a specific offence for child exploitation, where a child has been exploited but not moved or trafficked, and the third to make criminalise all paying for sexual services. Following assurances from the Government of further discussions, the first two amendments were withdrawn. The third amendment was withdrawn following the recognition the the Bill was not an appropriate place for changes to be made to the law on prostitution.
Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks during Modern Slavery Bill debate”
I wonder whether there is some way of privileging people once they have been recognised as having been exploited or enslaved, to give them a different way of accessing benefits and support because they have been enslaved and treated as commodities. That would make an enormous difference.
On 17th November 2014, the Bishop of Derby, the Rt Revd Alastair Redfern, took part in the Second Reading debate of the Government’s Modern Slavery Bill. The Bishop, who was a member of the Joint Select Committee on the Draft Modern Slavery Bill, welcomed the progress that had been made in bringing the Bill to its current form. He noted that concerns about the commodification of humans through slavery required further thinking on supply chain accounting and other aspects of the legislation, and also raised questions about how best the vicitms of trafficking and slavery could be supported by the state.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, I was privileged to be on the Joint Select Committee and I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Bates, on his very positive introduction. I also express my appreciation to the Government for listening and being willing to negotiate and explore options as this legislation unfolds.
I remind your Lordships that this is not just a huge and wicked crime. It is, as the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, says, increasing as we talk, massively. It treats human beings as commodities to be traded. The challenge of this legislation is to stop this practice. I am delighted that the Government are committed to producing a slavery strategy to complement the Bill and I hope that many of our concerns can be refined through that strategy. I would like to raise three of four things that might benefit from further scrutiny and wider debate in our process. Continue reading “Bishop of Derby takes part in debate on Modern Slavery Bill”