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Vatican Connections: March 21, 2014

Alicia Ambrosio

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Vatican, the Anglican Communion, the Al Azhar Mosque and the Walk Free Foundation have joined forces to eliminate slavery and human trafficking by the end of the decade. The four parties launched the Global Freedom Network this week at the Vatican.
The network aims to get 162 governments commit to endorse it and the Global Fund to End Slavery, 50 multinationals to commit to investigating their supply chain for slavery, and G20 nations to adopt anti-slavery legislation.
The Walk Free Foundation, founded by Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest to end slavery, reports that 29.8 million people around the world are in situations of slavery.
Gina Dafalia, the policy and research manager for the Walk Free Foundation, told Salt + Light the foundation realized very early on there was limited data about the prevalence of slavery. The first major project the foundation undertook was putting together the Global Slavery Index, examining data from countries around the world to determine where slavery is most prevalent. The Global Slavery Index also ranks nations according to that prevalence.
Mauritus is the nation with the highest prevalence of slavery, while Iceland, Ireland and the United Kingdom are the nations with the lowest prevalence of slavery.
The Walk Free Foundation defines slavery as any situation where one person deprives another of his or her freedom, whether through debt bondage, forced marriage, sale and exploitation of children, forced labour, or trafficking.  
Dafalia said the Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with the Global Freedom Network, hopes to raise awareness about what constitutes slavery and where it is prevalent, spur businesses to eliminate it from their supply chains and get nations to adopt anti-slavery and anti-trafficking legislation.
Archbishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the chancellor of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences told Salt + Light the Holy See is participating in the Global Freedom Network as the result of a request by Pope Francis.
As part of the Holy See’s commitment to the Global Freedom Network the Academy for Social Sciences will be organizing meetings to study the best responses to the phenomena. The academy will also ask bishops conferences around the world to organize a similar meeting in order to raise awareness among their faithful about what constitutes slavery.
“Slavery is anything that takes away a person’s freedom, anyone who has to work in difficult conditions for nothing, the person who is forced to prostitute themselves, or has their passport taken away,” said Archbishop Sanchez Sorondo  
To learn more, visit the Global Freedom Network website
To read the Global Slavery Report and see where your country is ranked, visit the Walk Free Foundation website.

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