'Narcos' Actor Wagner Moura Named Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. Agency

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Wagner Moura

The Brazilian film star will work with the International Labor Organization to end forced labor.

Brazilian film star Wagner Moura, who plays Pablo Escobar in Netflix’ forthcoming series Narcos, has been appointed an International Labor Organization’s goodwill ambassador and will work with the United Nations' agency on its campaign to end forced labor, the actor told The Hollywood Reporter.

It is an issue whose impact Moura witnessed first-hand growing up in rural Brazil where, he says, he “was touched deeply” seeing “how poverty forced people to work in harsh, exploitative conditions.” Moura, who starred in his native country’s highest-ever grossing film, Elite Squad 2, has worked with the ILO for the past two years in its effort to combat child labor.

"Wagner Moura has a strong record in speaking out against forced labor 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 modern slavery. In Latin America there are 1,800,000 people trapped in forced labor, according to our estimates.”

Moura will take an active role in the ILO’s “50 for Freedom” campaign, which lobbies more nations to ratify the protocol of the 1930 Forced Labor Convention. “I believe that modern slavery is the most outrageous assault on the rights of an individual,” Moura said. "We need a new international instrument in the fight to end modern slavery and we need countries to ratify it as quickly as possible.”

“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."

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