Photo source: Reuters, via Vatican Radio
We call it “modern slavery.”
“It” is the business of buying and selling people.
Pope Francis hosted a group of religious leaders from many faiths who signed a pledge against modern slavery. Signatories included representatives from the Shai and Sunni Muslims, Buddhism, Orthodox, Jewish and Anglican faith traditions.
I once did something similar to this. I hosted a luncheon for Oklahoma’s faith leaders, including many Protestant denominations, Orthodox, Catholic, Buddhist, and Muslim.
I think that something like this could really change things, but it takes going forward. One event, one signing or one document, won’t do it.
I am proud of Pope Francis for taking this first great step and for uniting the leaders of these faiths in this call for an end to human trafficking It is the essential first step to this change.
From Vatican Radio;
(Vatican Radio) An unprecedented gathering of religious leaders from all corners of the globe took place in the Vatican on Tuesday for the signing of a joint declaration against modern slavery. Pope Francis joined Anglican, Orthodox, Jewish, Shia and Sunni Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist representatives in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, together with two young trafficking victims from Mexico and Ghana. Philippa Hitchen reports…..
No-one knows the exact number of men and women, boys and girls who are trafficked into prostitution, forced labour or the trade in human body parts. Some estimates put the figure as high as 35 million, but as one participant pointed out, it’s not the numbers that matter as much as the fact that every single one of those people could be your brother or sister, my son or daughter.
When the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby first met Pope Francis in 2013, they identified the scourge of human trafficking as one of the most urgent priorities for both of their Churches today. Less than a year later, the ecumenical Global Freedom Network was set up to try and harness the commitment of believers around the world for practical action to eradicate this modern slavery by the year 2020.
This gathering of religious leaders in the Vatican today represents around 90 percent of the world’s population and the declaration they signed commits their communities to working together for the freedom of all people and an end to this lucrative trade in human life. In his words to the group, Pope Francis called it an absurd evil and a crime against humanity….