James Kofi Annan, the President of Challenging Heights, has urged world leaders to be more aggressive in fighting on the side of the oppressed, even as the world faces mountain economic and political challenges. He said the Anglican church, one of the oldest churches in the world, has a responsibility to demonstrate genuine empathy for those who face victimization. James Kofi Annan was addressing participants at the triennial International Consultation of the United Society Partners in the Gospel (USPG), in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.
The USPG, formerly known as Society for Propagation of the Gospel (SPG), is an Anglican Mission agency established in 1701 with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Justin Welby as their current patron. The group work together with churches and communities worldwide on projects relating to education, development, and justice.
This year, the USPG International Consultation (an event which takes place once every three years) took place in Dar es Salam, Tanzania from 27 January to 3rd February 2023. This year’s Consultation focused on the theme ‘Set My People Free: The Call of the Church against Human Trafficking’.
The consultation brought together about 50 senior church leaders from across the world including about 15 Archbishops of Anglican Church to explore one of the most pressing challenges of our times – Human Trafficking.
James Kofi Annan, who was the keynote speaker for this years International Consultation event, expressed worry that more people are becoming victims of human trafficking today, than it was five years ago. He said recent data from a group of international agencies such as International Labour Organization (ILO), Walk Free Foundation, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), estimate that the number of people found in slavery worldwide has increased from 40.3million, to 49.6million, an increase of over 8million within five years, attributing the worsening situation largely to the COVID 19 pandemic.
James Kofi Annan praised the Anglican Church for their antislavery efforts through the Anglican Alliance and the USPG. He said over 70% of all countries in the world have passed human trafficking laws and banned slavery in all its forms. This provides the opportunity for churches and civil society groups to collaborate in their effort at ending slavery ones again in our lifetime.
James Kofi Annan is an international expert in human trafficking and modern slavery. He founded his organization, Challenging Heights in February 2005, and has since rescued several hundreds of children from human trafficking and worst forms of child labor, as well as supported several thousands of youth and women to come of poverty in order to avoid becoming victims of human trafficking. James has won 16 major international awards, including the World Children’s Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Freedom award.
Also in attendance at the USPG international Consultation was the Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Dr. Philip Isdor Mpango, as well as Archbishop Maimbo Mndolwa, the Seventh Primate of the Anglican Church of Tanzania.