The Clewer Initiative

More than 200 years after the abolition of the slave trade there are still an estimated 40.3 million men, women and children trapped in modern slavery, and up to 136,000 potential victims in the UK alone.


We believe that the tools to end modern slavery already exist within the local community and that the Church, which is present in all communities and at the heart of many, has a primary responsibility in leading these efforts.

The Clewer Initiative is 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.

We are working at varying levels with the majority of the Church of England’s 42 dioceses, either on community-based projects or by sharing learning and knowledge through our network (or both!). Through this national network we are able to encourage dioceses to follow similar methodologies. We support and learn from one another and strive towards our common goal: a world without slavery.

Partnership is one of our core principles and we collaborate not only within the Church of England, but also with law enforcement, local government, charities, and wider faith networks. (See who we’re partnering with.)

Locally we are working in communities with our Hidden Voices methodology. We help our groups to look at the risks and resources in their area and ask how they can address those risks. We explore together how they can prevent modern slavery, raise awareness of how it affects their distinct community, and identify and support the victims.

Nationally our other projects include the Safe Car Wash app, an innovative solution to the problem of raising awareness of the issue of modern slavery in hand car washes, while providing meaningful intelligence for law enforcement. We have also created lesson plans and collective worship materials for schools, that teach children and young people about the reality of modern slavery and help to protect them from falling prey to it.

The initiative forms part of the Church of England’s approach to eradicating modern slavery and is funded by the Clewer Sisters. The Clewer sisters are an Anglican order of Augustinian nuns founded in 1852 to help marginalised, mainly young women, who found themselves homeless and drawn into the sex trade, by providing them shelter and teaching them a trade. For more information, please visit our website.