Urge all 52 Commonwealth countries to commit to ending modern slavery

Urge all 52 Commonwealth countries to commit to ending modern slavery


We have a groundbreaking opportunity to encourage one of the largest intergovernmental associations in the world to take up the cause of modern slaveryand we need you to get involved.

The Commonwealth is a union of 52 countries around the world and is home to 2.2 billion people.1 While a third of the world’s population are Commonwealth citizens, according to the Global Slavery Index a staggering 55% of those currently enslaved reside in Commonwealth countries.2 This means that the Commonwealth is in a unique position to help significantly reduce slavery in the world.

CW Countries 3

Commonwealth countries

So far, the Commonwealth has not made a formal commitment to ending modern slavery. However, if it adopts a position, it will commit to putting time and resources towards tackling this problem. The Commonwealth Secretariat – the governing body coordinating efforts – would provide technical support and expert guidance to help member states develop effective responses and legislation. Therefore, this would be a huge step forward.

So how do we make this happen? In spring 2018, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in the UK. At this conference, the Heads of each country decide on a mandate of issues to work on in union. This moment is our chance to shape the agenda and ensure modern slavery is prioritized.

Decisions on which topics are included in the next CHOGM start long before the conference itself. We’re working with our partner, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), to do this – but we need your help too. By showing the Commonwealth strong public support on ending modern slavery, we can persuade them to take up the cause.

Join our campaign and urge the Secretary-General and the 52 Heads of Government of the Commonwealth to promote the inclusion of modern slavery in CHOGM 2018.

Campaign updates

March 2017: Prime Minister Muscat of Malta, the current Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth, shared this statement on modern slavery with us.

13 March 2017: To celebrate Commonwealth Day,  Freedom United supporters sent 6,325 messages to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth asking her to make ending modern slavery a priority for the Commonwealth. Thank you to everyone who took part!

January 2016: Parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth attended a Commonwealth Conference on Human Rights, hosted by our partner, CHRI UK. Following the conference, this outcome statement, which includes the importance of tackling modern slavery, was issued.

Call on the Commonwealth to tackle modern slavery

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To the Rt. Hon. Baroness Scotland, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat,

The time is right for the Commonwealth to show global leadership in the anti-slavery movement. A third of the world’s population are Commonwealth citizens, yet 55% of those currently enslaved reside in Commonwealth countries. The Global Slavery Index identifies 34 Commonwealth countries where slavery is present, including India, which has the world’s largest concentration of slavery.

Modern slavery is under increasing global scrutiny, as reflected in Goal 8.7 in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, which committed governments to ‘take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking’. By taking up the fight against modern slavery, the Commonwealth can demonstrate its commitment to its goal to provide ‘sustainable, inclusive and equitable development’.

Please help place the Commonwealth at the forefront of the abolitionist movement by calling for and supporting an anti-slavery mandate at CHOGM 2018.


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Campaign Kit

Our partner in this campaign:

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-partisan, international non-governmental organisation, mandated to ensure the practical realisation of human rights in the countries of the Commonwealth.

CHRI's objectives are to promote awareness of and adherence to the Harare Commonwealth Declaration, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and other internationally recognised human rights instruments, as well as domestic instruments supporting human rights in Commonwealth member states.

Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery

The Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS) is an independent action arm in the family of Rotary International. The Group’s aim are two-fold: to raise awareness of slavery and human trafficking and to take action to protect people against slavery and its consequences. RAGAS looks to provide information about, and promote ways for its members to engage and support anti-slavery and human trafficking projects, programmes and campaigns.

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