The Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK) has today signed a declaration to end modern slavery.
The commitment by leaders representing various faith organizations to the Joint Declaration of Religious Leaders against Modern Slavery represents a pan-African coalition of ethical leaders to fight an injustice that affects more than 40 million people globally.
IRCK is a coalition of all major faith communities in Kenya that works together to deepen interfaith dialogue and collaboration among members for a common endeavor to mobilize the unique moral and social resources of religious people and address shared concerns.
Kenya becomes the second signing venue in Africa after faith leaders from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire joined Ghanaian leaders to sign the commitment in a ceremony held in Accra in August 2021.
Global Freedom Network, the faith arm of international human rights group Walk Free, which is dedicated to accelerating the end of modern slavery, hosted the declaration signing.
It is the ninth signing since 2014 when Pope Francis and Grand Ayatollah Taqi al-Modarresi joined other faith leaders from many of the world’s great religions in declaring that modern slavery must be eradicated.
Modern slavery is an umbrella term that includes human trafficking, domestic servitude, the worst forms of child labour and forced and child marriage.
IRCK Chair Rev. Fr. Joseph Mutie said the faith leaders condemn various forms of modern slavery and will use all the resources available to them to ensure this practice comes to an end.
“As faith leaders, the society holds us to account given the unique position that has been bestowed on us. We will use our connections and resources to address the root causes of this vice and ensure that it is completely eradicated from our society and perpetrators brought to book”, said Abdirahman Ismael, the IRCK Executive Director.
Franca Pellegrini, director of the Global Freedom Network, said faith leaders were in a unique position to see into the hearts of their communities.
“Faith leaders occupy a prominent position and are well placed to lead the fight against modern slavery in their communities”, said Ms Pellegrini. “The philosophy of Global Freedom Network is built on interfaith collaboration. We are honoured to work in Kenya with the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya (IRCK).”
“The Global Freedom Network believes passionately that in the interconnected, divisive and unequal world we live in, faith leaders can play a crucial role in supporting governments and societies navigate the most complex problems that the 21st century throws at us.
“Our philosophy is that we have to learn from each other and listen to community and faith leaders from as many parts of the world as possible if we are to stand a chance of
addressing the root causes of modern slavery, including poverty and inequality.
“We are living at a particularly fragile time when the need to listen to solve the world’s most complex problems could not be more important.
“We thank the Kenyan faith leaders for signing this declaration today, joining the community of faith leaders across the world who have endorsed this pledge”
The signing event coincided with the launch of the Faith For Freedom smartphone app, which was developed in collaboration with faith leaders to help guide them to tackle
modern slavery in their communities and congregations.
“This a practical tool designed for and developed by faith leaders to assist with their important work addressing modern slavery in their congregations and communities,” Ms Pellegrini said.
“We are using modern technology to address an age-old problem.”
The Faith For Freedom app is free to download now from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. Visit faithforfreedom.org to learn more.