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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

53 Countries Commit! Joanna Ewart-James, Freedom United (team@freedomunited.org)

Dear David,

We are thrilled that the Commonwealth Heads of Government have answered our call and committed to eradicating modern slavery and human trafficking!

The Communiqué[1] issued by Heads of Government as the Summit concluded last week says:

“Heads called for effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour in all its forms by 2025” mirroring our call set out in our petition.

Share the news!

We asked the Commonwealth to show leadership in the abolitionist movement knowing that 55% of those in slavery reside in countries belonging to the Commonwealth.

When we began speaking out and asking for your support on the International Day of the Abolition of Slavery in 2016, calling for the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s support felt achievable but a challenge, considering the word ‘slavery’ had not been uttered publicly in a Commonwealth setting.

There was undoubtedly apprehension about our proposition. But in showing that there is support around the world from citizens of many countries, and how great the need is to commit to action, we achieved what we set out. We needed your support to help make it happen!

This is what we did:
  • 65,351 Freedom United supporters signed our petition. This was referred to by our partner the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in Commonwealth meetings and seminars to power their message.
  • 6,325 messages were sent directly to the Secretary-General on Commonwealth Day in 2017
  • We received a statement of support for action to end modern slavery from the Commonwealth’s then Chair-in-Office, the Prime Minister of Malta
  • Over 11,000 messages were sent to the Malaysian Prime Minister calling for his support
  • We called on UK parliamentarians for their support ahead of the UK’s Prime Minister becoming the Chair-in-Office
  • We asked you to help our partner the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative by submitting your designs for the cover of their report on modern slavery
  • We delivered your petition to the Assistant Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat just before the Commonwealth Summit began.

We are delighted by the commitment expressed in the Commonwealth Heads of Government statement. With their call to action the potential for creating a world in which slavery no longer thrives is enormous.

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative will not rest and will be watching closely to make sure that these words lead to action.

In gratitude,

Joanna, David and the teams at Freedom United and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

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