Goodwill Ambassador

Brazilian actor Wagner Moura joins campaign to end modern slavery

The award-winning actor has been appointed an ILO Goodwill Ambassador with a focus on forced labour, an issue he has long campaigned against.

Press release | 04 August 2015
Wagner Moura (© Bob Wolfenson)
BRASÍLIA – The International Labour Organization (ILO) has appointed Brazil’s leading actor Wagner Moura as a Goodwill Ambassador in the fight to end modern slavery. Moura began collaborating with the ILO in 2013 when he supported the Red Card campaign to end child labour.

"Wagner Moura has a strong record in speaking out against forced labour so we’re very happy to enlist his support to raise awareness of this issue,” said the ILO’s Regional Director for Latin American and the Caribbean, José Manuel Salazar- Xirinachs. “There are 21 million women, children and men around the world today who are victims of forced labour. In Latin America there are 1,8 million people trapped in forced labour, according to our estimates. Slavery has absolutely no place in today’s world.”

“I believe that modern slavery is the most outrageous assault on the rights of an individual,” said Moura. “It is something that touches me deeply because I grew up in rural Brazil and could see first-hand how poverty forced people to work in harsh, exploitative conditions. That's why I've been working for years now with parliamentarians and activists to push for legislation to tackle forced labour.” He added that it is a great honour to be named an ILO Goodwill Ambassador as the ILO is the United Nations agency that has the mandate to advance social justice. “The role will broaden and strengthen my advocacy work, starting with the 50 for Freedom campaign. We need a new international instrument* in the fight to end modern slavery and we need countries to ratify it as quickly as possible”, urged Moura.

“We’re thrilled to work with Wagner in this new role”, said the ILO’s Director of Communications, Marcia Poole. “His solid reputation as an activist for human rights and his profile in Brazil and, increasingly, internationally, means that he can be a powerful advocate, helping us get the message to those who can make change happen and connect with people, especially young people. Modern slavery is all around us, in countries rich and poor, and we all can and must play our part to put an end to it."

The 50 for Freedom campaign was launched on 12 June 2015 by the 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and ILO Director-General Guy Ryder during an event on 12 June 2015 in the Human Rights Council room at the United Nations’s Geneva headquarters.

Moura starred in Brazil’s highest-ever grossing film, Elite Squad 2 (2010). He will next be seen playing the lead character in the Netflix Narcos series due for release this month.

*Adopted by ILO member States in 2014, the new instrument consists of a is the Protocol and a Recommendation that supplement the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (C.29). The Protocol and Recommendation provide guidance on effective measures to be taken to eliminate all forms of forced labour which affects 21 million people in all regions of the world. The 50 for Freedom campaign aims to achieve 50 ratifications of the Protocol by 2018.