We recognise that faith can play a vital role in fighting modern slavery because faith leaders are in a unique position to see into the hearts of their communities.
Modern slavery covers a set of specific legal concepts including forced labour, debt bondage, forced marriage, slavery and slavery-like practices, and human trafficking. An estimated 50 million people were living in modern slavery on any given day in 2021, an increase of 10 million people since 2016. Walk Free has just released the latest edition of the Global Slavery Index (GSI) which breaks down this figure and shows the latest research on prevalence, vulnerability and government responses to modern slavery.
With a philosophy built on interfaith collaboration, Global Freedom Network is grateful to the faith leaders who have come together to tackle modern slavery — an issue which strikes at the heart of human dignity.
Global Freedom Network was founded in 2014, with the signing of the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery at the Vatican, a world-first event which brought together leaders of many of the world’s biggest faiths in a common cause.
Since then, Global Freedom Network has expanded around the globe, working with faith leaders who are building bridges between victims and law enforcement, cooperative connections with governments, social workers and victim support groups, especially in countries of strong faith and high prevalence of modern slavery.
By building relationships and collaborating with faith leaders and faith-based organisations we believe we can increase awareness, understanding, impact, and action.
We are grateful to faith communities and their leaders for their generous support of our joint efforts to protect human rights and strengthen communities.
Global Freedom Network has convened 11 signings of the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery over eight years, on five continents across the world. More than 100 signatories have pledged to fight modern slavery. Representatives from all major faiths have participated including: Christian (Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Methodist, Baptist, Orthodox, Presbyterian and Quaker), Muslim (Shia and Sunni), Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Bahá’í, and Sikh.
We also run regular workshops for faith leaders on how to identify and reduce the risk of modern slavery in their communities, as well as how to engage in government advocacy for policy change. To accompany this training, our Faith For Freedom app is available for download by faith leaders or anyone who would like to know more about modern slavery. It has seven country-specific profiles and an international profile in eight languages providing general information, tips on how to help victims and survivors, and referral pathways.