Café Church Report

Those attending the Café Church in Little Bollington at 10 am. in the Swan with Two Nicks, on Sunday July 29th, enjoyed hot drinks and refreshments kindly provided by our hosts, Ann and Paul Amphlett, before an informal period of worship, focusing on People Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery.

Songs of worship, bible readings and prayers were used, relevant to this contemporary subject, followed by reflection and consideration of the thoughts of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had raised attention to these problems, and suggested ways to find out more about them, and to seek solutions. It would be helpful if churches and communities could raise public awareness, and there are digital resources available to provide information. Knowledge of any exploitation of agricultural labourers, sex workers or low-paid workers such as carwash attendants and domestic servants, should be passed to the police or the National Crime Agency, required to address these difficult issues. Those who reward the trafficking gangs and make use of their victims’ services are fueling the criminal people-trafficking, and profiting illegally from this evil exploitation.

Small discussion groups shared ideas about why people were trafficked, and why the numbers arriving in the UK in recent years were increasing. Concerns were expressed about confusion between genuine asylum seekers fleeing from life-threatening violence, and economic migrants seeking a better life abroad, among them many concealed victims being trafficked by threats, force or trickery, most of them suffering appalling living conditions, long working hours with little or no wages, and no hope of safety or freedom.

The contrast between extreme poverty and extreme wealth displayed by the global media was seen as a major cause motivating international migration. Organised criminal activity to exploit those in the poorest conditions with false promises of a better life, or with threats to enforce compliance, had resulted in increasing westward trafficking, reducing many to conditions of slavery, sometimes with life-threatening consequences.

The leaders of criminal gangs, often also involved in money-laundering and drug trafficking, seem to be motivated by insatiable greed, sometimes to
finance drug, alcohol or other addictions, or to pursue vastly extravagant and competitive life-styles. The tragic paradox was pointed out that many of the most wealthy communities displayed little contentment in spite of their luxurious standards of living, while some of those in poorer countries appeared to achieve greater happiness with fewer resources.

We Christians felt the need to reject this human greed for money, trying to share with others our prosperity and peace of mind, and the love of God as shown to us through his son, Jesus Christ our Lord, and offered to everyone.
                                                                                              Linda Atkinson