Watch out slave drivers, here comes the Global Freedom Network and it sure means business.
Vatican City – A new revolutionary initiative, the Global Freedom Network (GFN), was inaugurated on Monday at the Vatican. Its goal is to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking across the world by 2020.
The GFN – whose major partner is the Walk Free Foundation – was established by way of an unprecedented Memorandum of Agreement and Joint Statement signed by representatives of major faiths as well as from the Walk Free Foundation:
–On behalf of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
Bishop Marcel Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Sciences and Social Sciences
–On behalf of the Grand Imam of al Azhar, Egypt
Dr Mahmoud Azab
–On behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Justin Welby
The Most Reverend Sir David John Moxon (representative to the Holy See)
-On behalf of the Walk Free Foundation
Mr Andrew Forrest (founder)
Although the existing representatives are from three faiths -Catholic, Muslim and Anglican – the GFN is an open initiative and leaders from other faiths will be invited to join and support it.
The Joint Statement emphasised the “searing personal destructiveness of modern slavery and human trafficking” and advocated immediate action by world leaders, leaders from the different faiths around the globe as well as all people of goodwill.
“Modern slavery and human trafficking are crimes against humanity,” it affirms. “The physical, economic and sexual exploitation of men, women and children condemns 30 million people to dehumanization 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.”
The term modern slavery refers to the “systematic removal of an individual’s freedom,” which includes forms of exploitation such as: forced prostitution, child prostitution and pornography, forced labour, children in armed conflict, child labour, debt bondage and forced marriage.
The representatives committed themselves to pursuing global action by all possible avenues.
In particular, the joint agreement asserts that only by mobilizing “the ideals of faith and of shared human values can we marshal the spiritual power, the joint effort and the liberating vision to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking from our world and for all time.”
As such the project intends to employ “instruments of faith – prayer, fasting and almsgiving” as part of its ambitious mission. Dedicated prayer networks will be setup as well as a world day of prayer for the victims and for their freedom.
Furthermore their action plans endeavour to develop the following measures:
-All global faiths to mobilize 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 Statement concludes by asserting that “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.”
Photo by Zoriah