Global Freedom Network

Global Freedom Network is the faith-based arm of Walk Free, an international human rights group working to accelerate the end of all forms of modern slavery.

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.

Our approach

We empower faith leaders to work in collaboration with government, business, and civil sectors to fight 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.

Our impact

We bring faith leaders together from around the world to speak out against exploitation and create change in their 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. 

Our Work

  • Expanded the Faith For Freedom smart phone app in Ghana and Kenya.
  • The Federation of Faith Leaders grew in 2022 with new members joining.
  • In 2022, Global Freedom Network ran a cross-border awareness campaign with Ghanaian faith leaders, the Ghanaian Police Service and the main road transport unions in Ghana.
  • In 2022, Global Freedom Network deepened its engagement in Africa by entering three strategic partnerships: 
    • Global Freedom Network is working with the African Union to focus on their youth engagement in 2023-2024 and hopes to use this as a platform to expand the Faith for Freedom App and its advocacy work, bringing together faith leaders in the region. 
    • Global Freedom Network entered into a partnership with the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) to carry out a programme of work. This involved the delivery of Government Engagement Workshops for faith leaders in Nairobi and Mombasa. We are also working together to form our local faith leaders Advisory Panel to update the Faith For Freedom app with IRCK and other stakeholders. 
    • Global Freedom Network entered a partnership with Compassion International Ghana in June 2022, which will deepen our network in Ghana. The partnership is aimed at leveraging Compassion International’s extensive network of church partners to expand the reach of the Faith For Freedom app in the country. 
  • In March 2023, Global Freedom Network in partnership with the Anglican Archdiocese of Perth and under the auspices of Her Grace Archbishop Kay Goldsworthy hosted the first meeting of the Western Australia Advisory Panel for the Faith For Freedom app. Global Freedom Network is collaborating with faith leaders from WA to create a specific profile for Western Australia, which will serve as a template to develop similar resources for the other Australian states and territories.
  • In August 2023, the online module of the Government Engagement Workshop was launched. 
  • In July 2023, an awareness campaign was launched across places of worship in Ghana and new resources developed for faith leaders to engage with their communities and survivors of modern slavery.
  • Walk Free and Global Freedom hosted the Global Slavery Index 2023 spotlight event at Vatican City in November 2023. More than 80 delegates from across the world gathered at Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences’ historic Casina Pio IV. The forum discussed how modern slavery undermines global development. This was also an opportunity to highlight how faith can take action to intercede.

Our Goals

  • Planning for the 10th anniversary of the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders Against Modern Slavery, an opportunity to commemorate the impact of faith leaders’ fight against modern slavery and expand and amplify our joint efforts.
  • Expanding the Faith For Freedom app to more countries to provide practical information for faith leaders, clergy and their staff to help identify modern slavery and safeguard their communities. 
  • Growing the Federation of Faith Leaders to bring together leaders from the major faith communities to address and jointly assist in tackling modern slavery, sharing best practices and leveraging their respective platforms at the national and regional level to bring positive change to their countries.

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