Refugees & Human Trafficking

Refugee Crisis

Please see our dedicated page to find out how to help respond to the current refugee crisis in Europe and the Middle East.

Why do refugees need our help?

For the many refugees who reach Britain, they will have endured a hazardous and often dangerous journey which began with escape from their own country. Their only belongings may be limited to the clothes they stand up in. In the more serious cases, the refugees have been hunted by police or militia in their home land, and had their passports seized by those authorities intent on imprisoning, torturing and very possibly killing them. Many of these, probably the majority, are our brothers and sisters in Christ although, as a group, we are committed to helping those of all or no faiths.

The British Government tries to refuse entry to all who lack the required documentation. It is admitted that this penalises not only the criminals but also refugees. Many serious asylum seekers are thereby left no choice but to attempt illegal entry to Britain. Thus “criminalising “ the whole process of seeking asylum.

How can volunteers help?

  • In your area, find out who are refugees and get to know them
  • Listen to refugees telling their stories
  • Support a refugee
  • Give special concern for those without the right family re-union and who are therefore often the most isolated
  • Escorting a refugee to Croydon Immigration Headquarters or to their port of entry for interview or to obtain a work permit. Simply by being present with the refugee as a member of the British public and helping him/her have the confidence to present his case, is often all that is needed.
  • Visiting refugees who are being detained at the Gatwick Immigration Detention Centre. Church members across our own and other dioceses have participated in this area of the work which involves a weekly visit to the refugee to whom they are assigned.
  • Attending an Immigration Court Hearing  for an asylum seeker’s bail hearing or appeal. It is noticeable that the care with which these procedures are dealt is improved when members of the British public are present.
  • Become well informed in the legal and other procedures surrounding the needs of refugees so that volunteers develop some valuable expertise in this field
  • Campaigning - contacting local MPs, the Minister for Immigration and the Home Secretary over particular refugee predicaments where injustice is feared to have been committed, or where the system appears to have been at fault. Publicity campaigning in local churches and communities with leaflets can also raise awareness of important issue.
  • The British Red Cross have a helpline to answer questions on how you can support refugees. The Europe Refugee Crisis Support Line number is 0800 107 8727. It's open daily from 9am to 7pm. The number is free to call from landlines but there may be a charge from mobile phones.

Volunteering ​opportunities can be found with many of the larger Citizens Advice Bureaux and in areas, not too far outside the diocese, where there are large centres of asylum such as at the Southampton and Winchester Visitors Group which is facilitated by local churches in that area and the Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group Much helpful advice can also be found through the Refugee Council

The group is very clear in their view that every asylum seeker has a right, under International law, to be in Great Britain, while their claim is being determined. In protecting the rights of those individuals, they offer the following services:

  • Assisting individual refugees
  • Helping churches become informed and concerned
  • Campaigning for better treatment of refugees
  • Networking with refugee groups across the country

Human trafficking

please see our Modern Day Slavery page

Human trafficking is the trade in humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others, or for the extraction of organs or tissues.

Human trafficking is thought to be one of the fastest growing activities of transnational criminal organisations. There are many website resources but locally the issue has been taken up by:

  • Stop the Traffik
  • TOAST (Team Operating Against Slave Trafficking) a group in Aldershot/Farnborough

If you have any questions regarding supporting refugees or human trafficking in Britain or would be interested in helping responsively to the issues that arise in the diocese, please contact: Diane Peters (volunteer) -

Resources for Churches

Welcoming Child Refugees  - (Mission Theology Advisory Group) for the Children's Society 

Other useful contact addresses:

Refugee Council, 240-250 Ferndale Road, Brixton, London, SW9 8BB
Tel: 0207 346 6770

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, 115 Old Street, London EC1V 9JR
Tel: 0207 251 8708

Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees, PO Box 7, Oxted, Surrey, RH8 0YT
Tel: 0207 281 0533 

Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, 111 Isledon Road, Finsbury Park, London, N7 7JW
Tel: 0207 697 7777

Christians Aware, 2 Saxby Street, Leicester LE2 0ND
Tel: 0116 254 0770

British Red Cross Society, 78-80 Walton Road, Woking, Surrey, GU21 5DW
Tel: 0845 054 7222

London Churches Refugee Network, London Diocesan House, 36 Causton Street, London, SW1P 4AU
Tel: 0207 932 1121

Barnabas Fund 

Calais Refugee Camp Support

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