Freedom Sunday: February 19, 2023

Anglican Church of Canada
3 min readFeb 7, 2023

This reflection was originally written for Freedom Sunday 2021 by Archbishop and Primate Linda Nicholls (of the Anglican Church of Canada). References and links have been updated for 2023.

This year, February 19 is designated by the Anglican Church of Canada as Freedom Sunday, the Sunday nearest to Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

In 2020, during meetings of the Bishops in Dialogue in Zanzibar, we visited Christ Church Cathedral built on the site of a large former slave market. A museum there tells the story of the East Africa slave trade in horrific detail. The most chilling display highlights the fact that, despite our expectation that slavery is in the past, human trafficking in the present day is real and equally horrifying.

A slave cell in Zanzibar for 50–60 people waiting for auction.

Now, I did not need to go to Zanzibar to learn this. Canada is a source country, transit country and destination country for trafficking:

  • A grandparent in a small town despaired for her granddaughter who was being trafficked as a sex worker, while she continued to go high school and live at home in another city.
  • Another congregation along Highway 401 corridor in Ontario knows that a local motel is used for trafficked women and youths but there are few legal ways to intervene.
  • Migrant workers providing the food on our tables or in domestic service are often exploited.
  • Marginalized communities of homeless and 2SLGBTQI+ youth, immigrants, women and children, especially Indigenous women and children, are all targets for trafficking.

Most trafficked persons in Canada live with extremely limited freedom of movement and often are denied access to identity documents, private communication with friends and family, and money. Many are regularly moved from one location to another. Traffickers maintain domination and control over the people they exploit through physical violence, threats, and coercion. The report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls cites human trafficking as a longstanding contributing factor to the ongoing pain and loss experienced by Indigenous families and communities across these lands.

Human trafficking is a violation of human rights and a violation of our baptismal covenant to respect the dignity of every human being.

Find info, resources and steps to action at

The Anglican Church of Canada is committed to working to end human trafficking and modern slavery. General Synod 2016 and 2019 endorsed motions to urge action by our Church. We work with partners in Canada and around the globe to raise awareness and take action.

Every Anglican in Canada can help end human trafficking.

On this Freedom Sunday, February 19—pray for an end to the inhumanity of human trafficking and freedom for those who live in the chains of modern slavery.


via The Clewer Initiative

God of freedom, beauty and truth
we believe that your deepest desire, your most powerful energy,
is that all creation might know abundant life.
We raise our voices in anguished prayer for our sisters and brothers,
women and girls, men and boys, who are modern day slaves;
They are your beloved daughters and sons,
exploited sexually or forced to work because of human violence and greed.
Fill us with your holy anger and your sacred passion
that those who are trafficked might know healing and justice;
that traffickers will come to repentance and conversion;
that all of us might live in such a way
that others are not made to pay the price for our comfort and convenience.
Hasten the coming of the day when all people and our precious Earth itself will be treated,
not as a commodity, but as radiant images of your freedom, beauty and truth.
Amen. May it be so.



Anglican Church of Canada

The Anglican Church of Canada, a partner in the worldwide Anglican Communion, has approximately 600,000 members in 2,800 parishes across Canada.