Never in history have so many people been enslaved. Catholics, Anglicans and Muslims recently came together at the Vatican to launch an anti-slavery group - the brainchild of the Australian Christian philanthropist Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest.
- An interview with researcher Gina Dafalia, who works at the Walk Free Foundation, which recently published the Global Slavery Index 2013.
DW: How severe and diversified is the problem of slavery these days?
GD: Many people think that slavery was abolished many years ago, but it still exists in every country in the world. From the research we did [at the Walk Free Foundation], we estimate that there are nearly 30 million slaves worldwide. About 72 percent of them are in Asia, but every single country has them.
DW: What inspired Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest to take up the fight against slavery in the first place?
GD: He was visiting his daughter who was travelling at the time and working in an orphanage. When Andrew and Nicola went along to visit they discovered to their horror that the children in the orphanage were sold into sexual exploitation.
He decided that he needed to have a look at the business operations of his company, which is one of the largest iron ore companies in the world, Fortescue Metals Group. He discovered he also had slavery in his own supply chains.
He then put policies and procedures in place to tackle it. He also went a step further: He used his influence and his leverage to stop suppliers that were using slave labour. But that wasn't enough. He wanted to create a global movement where slavery would be abolished.
DW: So what's the next step? Where does this anti-slavery alliance go from here?
GD: The first point is: This is not a static group, it's an ever-expanding network. We have approached other faiths, like Judaism and the Orthodox churches.
Secondly, the religious leaders will leverage their influence. Religious leaders are very influential in many countries. They will put slavery on the policy agenda and make sure that it stays there and they will put pressure on government leaders to make sure that the right policies are in place.
Read full article: 'Slavery exists in every country' (Deutsche Welle)
Pope Francis calls for end to 'slave labor' (National Catholic Reporter)
Mining magnate paradox (The Spectator)
Fran Kelly talks to Andrew Forrest about slavery agreement (Radio National Breakfast)