Walk Free20 Mar 2019

500 future freedom fighters sign pledge in Perth

Walk Free inspired by the next generation of modern slavery activists after the 2019 Thrive Conference.

Walk Free set up at Thrive 2019
Walk Free staff (L-R), Charlotte Ollis, Franca Pellegrini and Constance Flake at the 2019 Thrive Conference in Perth. Photo Credit: Franca Pellegrini.

500 young Australians have pledged to help end modern slavery in their generation at a major youth conference in Perth.

The year seven students were shocked to learn of the prevalence of modern slavery, with many previously unaware of the issue. The students at the Thrive Conference said they were struck by the stories and statistics shared by Minderoo Foundation’s Walk Free team and expressed a strong desire to act.

500 of the students in attendance signed the following pledge:

“We pledge to help bring an end to modern slavery.
We believe everyone has the right to freedom. 
We want to see a world where everyone can walk free.”

Walk Free’s Global Freedom Network Lead Franca Pellegrini said the students she met at the conference made her excited about the future.

“It was inspiring for the Walk Free team to meet with the next generation of activists as we believe the energy and drive of today’s young people will provide much needed momentum in the fight against modern slavery,” Ms Pellegrini said

The students were quick to seek guidance on what steps they could take to make a difference. Walk Free encouraged the students to research their favourite brands and check what processes were in place to prevent forced labour, child labour and labour exploitation in their global supply chains.

Thrive is the largest youth conference in Australia, with 2,500 students attending in Perth earlier this month. The conference aims to equip students entering high school with the skills, knowledge and inspiration to thrive during the transition period. The students heard from speakers covering a vast range of topics including resilience, authenticity, courage, emotions and connection.

Walk Free was invited to host a stall as part of the lunch hour in the interactive learning zone. The purpose of the learning zone was to connect students to community services, educational support, performing arts and sport in a way that was unique and engaging. It presented an invaluable opportunity for Walk Free to be involved and spread its message to the next generation.

“We can all learn from the example set by these students and look for opportunities to implement small changes in our lives to make a difference,” Ms Pellegrini said.

“We should continue to educate the next generation of advocates on pressing human rights issues. It is gratifying to know that in the years to come there will be more warriors in the fight against modern slavery. With the energy and strength of today’s young people we can make significant progress towards ending modern slavery,” Ms Pellegrini said.

Charlotte Ollis
by Charlotte Ollis
Charlotte is part of the secretariat for the Bali Process Government and Business Forum, leading on Business Engagement, and provides support to a variety of projects across Walk Free. Charlotte has a background in politics and research.
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