His Holiness Pope Francis has met with modern slavery survivors as faith and spiritual leaders came together to continue their work in eradicating all forms of modern slavery.
His Holiness calls on all leaders, including governments, to take action to end modern slavery.
Walk Free’s Founding Director Grace Forrest shared the importance of these events to centre survivor voices.
“The historical effects of slavery are still felt today, with millions of people suffering around the world. Faith and spiritual leaders, along with individuals, must keep fighting the structures creating modern slavery.”
The event included about 75 guests including survivors of modern slavery from around the world, representatives from faith-based organisations, civil society and government.
One of the key outcomes of the event was a commitment from the Vatican to prioritise the abolition of modern slavery during the 2025 Jubilee Year of Hope. This is the first ordinary jubilee since 2000, with 35 million people expected to visit Rome.
The event is part of a long-term collaboration to strengthen the role of faith in ending modern slavery.
It comes ahead of the 10th anniversary of the first Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery, which was coordinated and initiated by the Global Freedom Network. This anniversary will be celebrated by bringing together faith leaders to announce a commitment from the Vatican to prioritise the abolition of modern slavery during the 2025 Jubilee Year of Hope — the first ordinary jubilee since 2000 – when 35 million people are expected to flock to Rome. On Wednesday, the Walk Free team and modern slavery survivors shared a rare audience with Pope Francis to reinforce the week’s outcomes.
The Joint Signing Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery is a landmark commitment by faith and spiritual leaders from the world’s biggest religions, uniting in the common cause of eradicating modern slavery in all its forms.
The Declaration has now been signed by 110 faith leaders representing diverse faiths and religious orders.
Pope Francis says modern slavery is a “crime against humanity” and is “unfortunately becoming worse and worse every day”.