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Walk Free Calls on Big Business to End Slavery Worldwide

           Walk Free Calls on Big Business to End Slavery Worldwide

  PR Newswire

  YANGON, Myanmar, Dec. 16, 2012

YANGON, Myanmar, Dec. 16,2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Walk Free: The Movement to End
Modern Slavery launched its global campaign, Putting Slavery out of Business,
from Myanmar today.

Walk Free members globally will call on the world's major corporations to work
together to end modern slavery by identifying, eradicating and preventing
forced labour in their operations and supply chains.

"Business has always been a key driver of social change, shaping modern life
through innovation and new technology. If Corporate Giants – 25 of the world's
top businesses whose net worth make up US$5 trillion – prioritise the
abolition of modern slavery as their next major innovation, we could quickly
deal a major blow to the slavery industry in this generation," said Nick
Grono, CEO of Walk Free.

"Forced labour does not exist in isolation, it encourages related abuses such
as fraudulent recruitment.It is time for Corporate Giants to collectively
address their responsibility to make modern slavery a priority for their
global agenda."

Walk Free is asking the world's major companies to make a Zero Tolerance for
Slavery Pledge by 31 March 2013 . The campaign aims to set an example for
every business; giving consumers the information they need to make informed
choices and ending the nightmare of modern slavery for millions around the
world.

Sir Richard Branson signed Walk Free's pledge and sent a message of support to
the campaign launch in Myanmar saying, "I am delighted to be able to sign this
pledge on behalf of all the Virgin group of companies and I would urge other
businesses to do the same."

While many think of slavery as a relic of history, experts estimate that there
are currently 20.9 million people living under threat of violence, abuse and
harsh penalties[1]. Within this massive number, the majority of people -- more
than 14.2 million -- are in a forced labour situation, used to source raw
materials, and create products in sectors such as agriculture, construction,
manufacturing and domestic work.

Some companies rely on goods that are sourced from countries where business
accountability and government regulation are weak, and factors such as
poverty, discrimination and conflict create opportunities for exploitation.
Without consistent supply-chain monitoring, suppliers are exploiting the
system -- and people -- to turn a profit.

The campaign Putting Slavery out of Business was launched in Yangon at an
event led by Walk Free CEO Nick Grono, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Combat
Trafficking In Persons Luis CdeBaca, Fortescue Metals Group founder and
Chairman Andrew Forrest, UNICEF specialist on trafficking andmigration,Dr
Susu Thatun,and Free the Slaves founder Kevin Bales.

Click here to DOWNLOAD video footage and photos of Walk Free's event and their
supporters (clips of Andrew Forrest, Luis CdeBaca, Jason Mraz, Kevin Bales, Dr
Susu Thatun).

Zero Tolerance for Slavery Pledge:

We pledge zero tolerance for slavery. We commit to prevent forced labour from
finding its way into our products. We pledge that our operations are free of
forced labour, and will carefully monitor our supply chains and subcontracting
arrangements to ensure the same. We will take responsible steps to respond to
any problems found.

The Campaign for Putting Slavery out of Business – Companies asked to sign:

AppleExxon MobilMicrosoftWal-Mart StoresShellGeneral Electric
GoogleIBMChevronBerkshire HathawayNestle AT&TJohnson & JohnsonProcter & Gamble
PfizerHSBC Coca-ColaRoche SamsungOracleNovartisMerck &
Co.VodafoneAnheuser-Busch InBevToyota

www.walkfree.org  Twitter: @walkfree

Media Contact: Ranya Alkadamani ranya@walkfree.org  +95-9419-87875
(Myanmar) / +61-434-664-589 (Australia)

[1] International Labour Organization Global Estimate on Forced Labour, 2012

Website: http://www.walkfree.org
 
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