The Melbourne Age, 18th March 2014, reported on Australian-led opposition to child and female sexual slavery under the headline: “Forrest Fights Slavery”.
It recorded that Andrew Forrest, West Australian iron ore magnate and Australian billionaire launched the Global Freedom Network, (GFN) last Monday at the Vatican. GFN church leaders formed an alliance of the Pope, with the Archbishop of Canterbury and Grand Izman of al-Azham in Egypt. Objectives are to free the world’s 30 million slaves, especially women and children sex slaves.
Grace, Forrest’s daughter, reported to her family after volunteering to teach at an orphanage in Nepal. She had found that the children were being groomed for the sex trade. This deeply shocked Forrest and inspired him to do something about it. He travelled to Asia, investigated, heard the screams of a victim being raped and this changed his life.
It led Forrest to resign as chief executive of Fortescue, to take a position as non-executive director and he wrote: “It all spins off that experience really – to live a useful life you’ve actually got to help others”.
Forrest claims that the GFN will be like a “high-achieving, measurement driven, totally target oriented company”.
· to persuade “All global faiths to remove any slavery-related organisations from their supply chains and investments”; get the “162 governments and 30 heads of state to endorse the GFN by the end of 2014”;
· lobby the “G20 to adopt a new anti-slavery and human trafficking initiative”;
· counsel the “50 multinational businesses to commit to ‘slavery-proofing’ their supply chains.”
Given Quaker history about opposition to slavery, is it still possible for Australian Quakers to confront children’s and women’s sexual slavery? Would it possible for the Religious Society of Friends to construct an anti-slavery role, that would enable Friends to join and act within the church alliance of the Global Freedom Network?
In peace and friendship,
John McMahon, Victoria Regional Meeting.