Aussie Philanthropist Joins Churches to End World Slavery
18 March 2014 at 9:17 am
Australian billionaire philanthropist and mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest has joined in a collaboration of the main world religions to set up the "Global Freedom Network" in a bid to combat modern forms of slavery and human trafficking.
|Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest, far left, at the Global Freedom Network at the Vatican.|
Catholic, Anglican and Muslim representatives came together on Monday with Andrew Forrest, the founder of the Walk Free Foundation, to launch of the global network to tackle human trafficking, forced prostitution and child labour.
The Global Freedom Network says it will pressure governments and businesses to free millions of men, women and children held in bondage around the world by 2020.
"Today, the economic exploitation of our fellow human beings causes almost 30 million people to be enslaved, more than at any time in human history," Forrest said.
The Vatican, with Pope Francis, the Anglican Communion and Cairo's Islamic al-Azhar University are leading the initiative, which "brings together faith communities of almost three billion people – nearly half of the world's population – and will invite all faiths to join its leadership," he said.
Forrest, who met with Pope Francis to discuss the initiative said the unprecedented historic nature of this collaboration would bring “millions of churches and mosques to gather in one great army to end slavery and to end it decisively".
He said the network would call on the world's 50 biggest corporations to root out exploitation of workers in their supply chains and ask the Group of 20 most advanced nations to set up a global fund to finance programmes tackling slavery.
"There are forms of slavery in all industrial sectors," Forrest said.
It’s believed Forrest has secured the support of fellow billionaires Bill Gates and Richard Branson.
In 2013, the Walk Free Foundation published a Global Slavery Index, covering all forms of bondage from people trafficking to children forced to wed, which estimated that 29.8 million people live in slavery worldwide.