Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Global Freedom Network

I have previously blogged about the important work of many Catholic religious orders in the fight against human trafficking, as well as the leadership of Pope Francis on this issue. On Monday the critical role faith communities play in combatting this scourge was further underscored and advanced with the launching of the Global Freedom Network. Representatives of the Catholic, Anglican, and Muslim world signed the agreement at a Vatican press conference in which they pledged to work together to end human trafficking by 2020.

The Initiative is important on many fronts, and a testament to the potential of faith institutions and individuals who translate faith into action. First, it underscores the importance of faith communities it preventing and combatting human trafficking, as well as their important historical role of working directly with victims – who often come from the most forgotten segments of our society. Second, it acknowledges that human trafficking is a global problem which knows no geographical boundaries. Faith institutions and organizations are one of the few organizational bodies with worldwide reach to members. Therefore, when mobilized, they can effectively act. Finally, the historical accord also is a testament to how one individual, in this case Australian Andrew Forrest, can see an injustice such as human trafficking and respond with faith and action. Forrest, a mining magnate, founded the Walk Free Foundation after encountering children who were the victims of trafficking. His organization is funding this initiative and he is committed to this work.

The Global Freedom Network arose out of an important June 2013 meeting between Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury, spiritual leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, when the two men looked for ways to pursue concrete cooperation. It also follows an important November 2013 conference hosted by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences which included many of the world's experts on human trafficking. These minds came together and created points of action necessary to successfully defeat this crime.

While the goal of eradication may seem aspirational, the Network has specific concrete objectives on which to work to attain that goal. The Vatican press office reports that, "[p]lanned actions include urging governments to publicly endorse the establishment of the Global Fund to End Slavery and persuading multi-national businesses to commit to eradicating slavery from their supply chains. By mobilizing the world's major faith communities, this new Network hopes to bring an end by 2020 to what Pope Francis has dared to call a crime against humanity."


Leary, Mary G. | Permalink