The first female Church of England bishop has highlighted the “evil” of human trafficking at her first official public appearance in her new role.
Supporting Manchester Airport’s Travel Safe Week, Bishop Libby Lane said the evil would not go away without “commitment and struggle”.
The initiative trains the 19,000 people who work at the airport every day to be aware of the tell-tale signs of human trafficking and help protect vulnerable passengers.
According to children’s charity Unicef, 1.2 million children are trafficked every year and human trafficking is said to be the second largest source of illegal income worldwide, exceeded only by drugs trafficking.
Bishop Lane, the Bishop of Stockport, said: “We recognise it is a complex problem and therefore it needs the strongest possible collaboration between all those of goodwill – between governments, statutory agencies, businesses, civil societies, faith communities, all those who long to see humanity live in freedom across the globe. And I want to recognise that this is not a problem that belongs to any one part of our community but the problems of human exploitation, trafficking and forced marriages is an issue that faces every and all communities so the solution is also to be found in the whole community together, sharing responsibility and awareness.”
The Bishop was joined by her husband, the Rev George Lane, who is co-ordinating chaplain at Manchester Airport and Manchester councillor Sameem Ali who has written about her own forced marriage.
She said: “I am a survivor of forced marriage and was taken out of the country aged 13.
“I wish there was something like this back then and I wish children knew about it. Maybe I would have been saved from the torture that I endured, maybe I would have been saved from the pain that I had to go through.”