> ANSA English > News

Christians, Muslims unite at Vatican to fight modern slavery

Global Freedom Network aims to rid supply chains of forced labor

17 March, 15:07
Christians, Muslims unite at Vatican to fight modern slavery (ANSA) - Vatican City, March 17 - Muslims and Christians joined forces at the Vatican Monday in an effort to help fight human trafficking and end modern-day slavery. Representatives of Pope Francis met with those of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar university in Cairo, the world's foremost seat of Sunni learning, to launch the Global Freedom Network.

The initiative aims to eliminate slavery by urging governments, businesses, educational and religious institutions to rid eradicate slave labor from their supply chains.

The network was founded by billionaire Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest, who was in Vatican City to sign the agreement launching the project Monday. The network will have its base at the Vatican, with a CEO in charge of a business plan for the next five years, which includes convincing 50 top corporations to commit to slavery-proofing their supply chains; persuading the G-20 to condemn slavery in its modern form; and getting 160 governments to back a $100-million fundraising effort over the next seven years to launch anti-slavery programs around the world.

Francis, who hosted a Vatican conference last November on modern-day slavery, has repeatedly denounced human trafficking as a "crime against humanity". Getting Vatican officials at the table with al-Azhar Monday was noteworthy in light of deteriorating relations between the two during the papacy of Francis' predecessor Benedict XVI.