Global Freedom Network founded by Catholics, Anglicans, Muslims to end trafficking

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Global Freedom Network founded by Catholics, Anglicans, Muslims to end trafficking

Vatican Radio

Representatives of the Catholic, Anglican and Muslim worlds gathered for the first time ever in the Vatican press office on Monday for the launch of a Global Freedom Network aimed at eradicating human trafficking by the end of the decade.

The groundbreaking agreement to work closely together across the different faith communities was signed by Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo on behalf of Pope Francis. The Argentinian bishop is chancellor of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences which brought together a broad coalition of anti-trafficking experts for a workshop last November. He was joined by New Zealand Archbishop David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome and representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See. Also on hand to sign the founding declaration was Dr. Mahmoud Azab, representing the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, one of the most important centres of Sunni Islam located in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

The other key figure who put his signature to the document was Australian businessman Andrew Forrest, founder of a philanthropic organisation called the Walk Free Foundation. Set up after Forrest’s daughter travelled to Nepal where children were being caught up in a trafficking for prostitution ring, its aim is to stamp out this modern form of slavery by galvanizing and supporting action at local, national and international level.

Planned actions include urging governments to publicly endorse the establishment of the Global Fund to End Slavery and persuading multi-national businesses to commit to eradicating slavery from their supply chains. By mobilizing the world’s major faith communities, this new Network hopes to bring an end by 2020 to what Pope Francis has dared to call a crime against humanity.

Catholics, Anglicans and Muslims mark just the beginning of what organisers sincerely hope will expand to include representatives of all other faith communities as well. They’re also aware that much work is already being done to tackle prevention, prosecution and protection of trafficking victims.

Statistics show some 30 million men, women and children are currently caught in the clutches of human traffickers and that figure is believed by many to be just the tip of the iceberg. Organisers of this Global Freedom Network are hoping to touch the hearts of all believers to help put an end to this exploitation which they call a shameful affront to our common humanity.

Tue, 03/18/2014 - 11:00
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