World faith leaders to declare their commitment towards the eradication of modern slavery by 2020

  • Faith leaders join their efforts to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking by 2020
  • For the first time in history the leaders of the Christian Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox, as well as Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish and Muslim faiths, jointly commit to one common endeavour against slavery
  • On the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery they are gathering in Rome to sign a common declaration

Vatican City, Monday, 1 December 2014 / PRNewswire — On 2 December 2014 the Global Freedom Network(GFN) will bring together faith leaders forming a historic initiative to eradicate modern slavery by 2020throughout our world and for all time.

They will sign the JointDeclaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slaveryto underline that modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labour and prostitution, organ trafficking, and any relationship that fails to respect the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have the same freedom and dignity, is a crime against humanity, and must be recognised as such by everyone and by all nations. They affirm their common commitment to inspiring spiritual and practical action by all faithsand people of goodwill everywhere to eradicate modern slavery. The signatories will be:

  • Catholic: Pope Francis
  • Hindu: Her Holiness Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma)
  • Buddhist: Zen Master ThichNhatHanh (Thay) (represented by Venerable BhikkhuniThich Nu Chan Khong)
  • Buddhist: The Most Ven. Datuk K Sri Dhammaratana, Chief High Priest of Malaysia
  • Jewish: Rabbi Dr. Abraham Skorka
  • Jewish: Rabbi Dr. David Rosen
  • Orthodox: His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew (represented by His Eminence Metropolitan Emmanuel of France)
  • Muslim: Mohamed Ahmed El-Tayeb,Grand Imam of Al-Azhar (represented by Dr. Abbas AbdallaAbbas Soliman, Undersecretary of State of Al AzharAlsharif)
  • Muslim: Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi
  • Muslim: Grand Ayatollah Sheikh BasheerHussain al Najafi (represented by Sheikh NaziyahRazzaqJaafar, Special advisor of Grand Ayatollah)
  • Muslim: Sheikh Omar Abboud
  • Anglican: Most Revd and Right Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

A number of leaders from international organisations, including GFN partner Andrew Forrest of the Walk Free Foundation, civil society organisations and businesses will witness the signing of the declaration on Tuesday.

The Global Freedom Network is a faith-based global network with a vision and purpose to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking throughout our world and for all time.

For more information please visit:
A satellite live stream of the ceremony will be provided on 2 December from 10.30 to 12.30 CET:

D/L Freq:
D/L Polarity: Y
FEC: 3/4
Symbol: 7.200
Modulation: DVB-S2 8PSK
Video Std: 1080i50
Aspect Ratio: 16:9

During and after the ceremony professional images and videoswill be provided free of charge on the GFN website:

Please also visit our social media channels: Twitter @gfn2020 (#EndSlavery)

About modern slavery
Modern slavery is the systematic deprivation of a person’s liberty, and abuse of his or her body, for example through mutilation or organ removal, for the purposes of personal or commercial exploitation. According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index released by GFN’s member partner Walk Free Foundation, almost 36 million people are currently trapped in modern slavery. These are people who have lost their freedom and are being exploited for personal or commercial gain. According to the International Labour Organization the total profits obtained from the use of forced labour inthe private economy worldwide amount to US$150 billion per year.

The Global Freedom Network
The Global Freedom Network is a faith-based global network with a vision and purpose to eradicate modern slavery and human trafficking throughout our world and for all time. It was launched on 17 March 2014 at the Vatican. The Memorandum of Agreement and Joint Statement establishing the Global Freedom Network had signatories from the CasinaPio IV, Lambeth Palace, Al Azhar Mosque and Walk Free Foundation.

The Global Freedom Network has outlined sixfields of action for achieving its vision. These include mobilising faith based communities, supply chain proofing to promote ethical purchasing arrangements, improving the care for victims and survivors, advocating for law reforms and enforcement,facilitating and promoting education and awareness, and securing sizeable funds in order to carry out its task.

Press contact
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Max Hohenberg
+49 172 899 6264
Marie von Bismarck
+ 49 172 853 2927