The Global Freedom Network is an inter-faith organisation established to 'eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking across the world by 2020'. This new organisation is led by the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar in Egypt. The founder of the organisation, Andrew Forrest is the head of the Walk Free Foundation.
In the joint statement the founders say:
'Modern slavery and human trafficking are crimes against humanity.
Any indifference to those suffering exploitation must cease. We call to action all people of faith and their leaders, all governments and people of goodwill, to join the movement against modern slavery and human trafficking and support the Global Freedom Network.
The physical, economic and sexual exploitation of men, women and children condemns 30 million people to dehumanisation and degradation. Every day we let this tragic situation continue is a grievous assault on our common humanity and a shameful affront to the consciences of all peoples.'
Under the Agreement, all parties commit to pursuing all avenues and pathways to galvanise global action to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking. Action plans for the first year will be developed to engage:
- all global faiths to modern slavery-proof their supply chains and investments and to take remedial action if necessary
- all global faiths to mobilise their youth sections to support programmes to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking
- families, schools, universities, congregations and institutions to educate on the nature of modern slavery and human trafficking, how to report it and the destructiveness of harmful social attitudes and prejudices and social systems in relation to modern slavery and human trafficking
- Government leaders to modern slavery-proof public sector supply chains
- 50 major multi-national businesses whose CEOs are people of faith or of goodwill to commit to modern slavery-proof their supply chains
- 162 governments to publicly endorse the establishment of the Global Fund to End Slavery, with 30 heads of state publicly endorsing it by the end of 2014
- the G20 to condemn modern slavery and human trafficking and adopt an anti-slavery and human trafficking initiative and support the abovementioned Global Fund.
The joint statement concludes:
'Our world must be freed of these terrible evils and crimes against humanity. Every hand and heart must be joined to bring this freedom to all those who are trapped and suffering. This agreement is a beginning and a pledge – the victims of modern slavery and human trafficking will not be forgotten or ignored: everyone will know their story. We will walk with them to freedom.'
Source: New initiative by global faiths to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking by 2020, 17 March 2014
In the media
- 'Mining magnate Andrew Forrest launches Global Freedom Network in bid to end slavery' ABC News, 18 March 2014
- 'Andrew Forrest’s dream to stop all slavery' by Nick Miller, SMH, 18 March 2014
Andrew Forrest previously established the Walk Free Foundation to end modern slavery. The Walk Free Foundation have created the Global Slavery Index 2013. It is an invaluable tool to find out about slavery across the world – you can search by country and region to see where enslavement is most prevalent.