The Walk Free Foundation in Dalkeith, Australia, has announced the launch of an interfaith initiative to end human trafficking and eradicate modern-day slavery.
The Global Freedom Network aims to engage the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church, the 85-million strong Anglican Communion, and Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the world's foremost seat of Sunni learning, in efforts to rid global supply chains of slave and child labor. With the goal of freeing millions of men, women, and children held in bondage by 2020, the network ultimately hopes to persuade the G20 group of wealthy nations to condemn modern-day slavery, fifty major corporations to commit to "slavery-proofing" their supply chains, and a hundred and sixty governments to endorse a seven-year, $100 million fundraising effort in support of anti-slavery programs.
The brainchild of Australian mining magnate and Walk Free Foundation founder Andrew Forrest, the network will be based at the Vatican, where representatives of the archbishop of Canterbury, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, and the pope gathered earlier this week to launch the effort. According to the foundation's Global Slavery Index 2013, some 29.8 million people around the globe are currently enslaved.
"The Global Freedom Network harnesses the combined power of faiths to deliver on a bold ambition of wiping out the blight of modern slavery across the world," said Forrest. "There is no precedent to the depth and operational strength of this multi-faith working agreement: it is the first time members of the Muslim and Christian faiths have come together in such an active way, with the support of the Holy Father, Pope Francis; the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar; and the Archbishop of Canterbury."