Unprecedented Agreement to Eradicate Human Trafficking Signed at the Vatican

"Global Freedom Network" Brings All Major Religions Together to End Trafficking by 2020

Vatican City, (Zenit.org) | 834 hits

Representatives from all of the world's great religions signed an agreement at the Vatican today to eradicate modern forms of slavery and human trafficking.

Called the Global Freedom Network, the agreement was made in collaboration with the Walk Free Foundation.

The objective of the agreement is to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking across the world by 2020. The signatories said it is a "revolutionary and unprecedented" agreement among representatives of major faiths.

In a joint statement, the representatives said the agreement "underscores the searing personal destructiveness of modern slavery and human trafficking and calls for urgent action by all other Christian Churches and global faiths."

"Modern slavery and human trafficking are crimes against humanity," they said. "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," they continued. "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 speakers at the conference were: Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Social Sciences, on behalf of the Holy Father; Mahmoud Azab, on behalf of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Egypt; Rev. Sir John Moxon, on behalf of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, and Andrew Forrest, founder of the Walk Free Foundation.

Bishop Sorondo recalled the Pope's strong denunciation of human trafficking and prostitution which he referred to "as new forms of slavery." The Argentine prelate thanked the Holy Father because "he had the courage to say it."

Azab stressed Islams prohibition of slavery and human trafficking, saying that the Koran does not accept slavery. "Myself along with the those who work at Al-Azhar are engaged in the fight against this phenomenon, above all modern-day slavery that is forbidden anywhere in the world," he said.

Before concluding the press conference, Walk Free Foundation founder Andrew Forrest called on the world's governments to join together with the world's religions in its goal of eradicating modern-day slavery. "There is no better way to make the economy grow than valuing a human being for all their abilities, not just their bodies," he said.