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 prioritised.

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

October 2017: Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, is reported to support all 52 Commonwealth countries passing modern slavery legislation in order to effectively tackle modern slavery and human trafficking. Read the full story here.

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.

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8 Comments on "Urge all 52 Commonwealth countries to commit to ending modern slavery"

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Nicolae Macovei

There is enough money to arrest people from EU but not enough for legal aid when they are potential v8ictims of human trafficking….this is a shame on democracy annd the “rule of the law”…. Parliament has top grant legal aid to every one, or else they help out the traffickers


The problem is that there is very little action the average person can take. A lot of us can’t afford to send in money and are unable to attend demonstrations so what do we do?

Patricia Adams

Hi Nancy,
I’m in the same boat in terms of finances and ability to take other action. But, I keep reading, sign petitions and use the intelligence in my day to day shopping for instance. An obvious example is only buy merchandise made in the USA. Petitions help. Your awareness helps. It leads you to do what is right. The Bible says “Those also serve who only stand and wait”. You are concerned and want to help. That’s got to be enough for now.

Suzi Kaplan Olmsted

In no way is it acceptable for slavery in any form to continue. We buy our cheap products, and ignore the suffering that made the prices possible. We worship wealth, new things, and discard what’s still useful, when the new is built on the backs of slaves. We let women and children be considered objects, and ignore the men in our lives who use them like dirt, and the women who enable it. We must learn to live with less, and end the worship of this system that survives on their suffering.

Dr. Pawan Kumar Aryan
Dr. Pawan Kumar Aryan

India is at the top of the list. It is indulging into every type of slavery, shocking, the issue has been thrown into Hindutav-Lab by the present central-Govt. Corporate looters, Govt, middle-man and Media are hands in glow to promote this crime as a virtue under the adage “Purav-janam-ke paap” sins of former birth.

Joan Sherriff

Whenever we can we must add our voices to protest against modern slavery. It is horrifying and shameful that in the 21st century it is on the increase and that unscrupulous people are using slavery to make profits. It is not so long ago that we had brave citizens such as William Wilberforce campaign to abolish slavery. What would they think of today’s situation.


Call on the Commonwealth to tackle modern slavery

22,838 actions to 100k
Read full text

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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Latest Activity

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Campaign Kit

Our partners 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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