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Pope Francis begins fight against human trafficking and slavery

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 5th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis is calling world attention to modern forms of slavery including human trafficking, forced labor, and prostitution. A meeting was held at the Vatican to discuss the issue.

ROME, ITALY (Catholic Online) - A group of 100 international experts including doctors, clergy, and academics, met at the Vatican on Monday to discuss topics associated with modern slavery and human trafficking. It is a startling fact that there are now more slaves in the world today than at any other time in history.

The Vatican reported the topics are very important to Pope Francis who is concerned that human trafficking will become increasingly lucrative and the world's largest criminal activity. The Pope himself has explained that human trafficking is an issue in his home country, Argentina, and reportedly two experts from Buenos Aries were invited to attend the conference.

The Pope plans additional meetings over the next two years.

The Holy Father was also gravely concerned that children were being used in trafficking schemes, deployed to transport and sell drugs and in some cases even to commit murder.

The issue of prostitution was also discussed. Although many social libertarians argue that prostitution should be legal, despite the obvious moral reasons to condemn the practice, the practice is often linked to illicit trade and other schemes. Organized crime engages in forced prostitution, and it is commonly related to drugs and various forms of violence.

The meeting led to a list of 50 recommendations, although that list has not yet been made public. Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, the head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences said about the list in an interview, "The idea is that it should be something along the lines of European courts that go beyond borders."

About 30 million people live as slaves around the world, and although slavery is technically outlawed, several nations disregard the practice. In some places, such as Mauritania, slavery is ingrained into the local culture.

Slavery even occurs in places where it isn't expected. Large portions of the marijuana crop grown in the UK use child labor, and child sexual slavery in the United States in on the rise as criminal street gangs find the practice even more lucrative than selling guns or drugs.

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