- (Photo:Reuters/Paul Hanna)
Roman Catholic, Anglican and Muslim representatives came together on Monday at the Vatican to launch together the Global Freedom Network, with a mission to put an end to human trafficking and slavery by the end of the decade.
"It's not politically correct to call this modern slavery a crime against humanity but we want to arrive at that in national and international law," said Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo on behalf of Pope Francis, who signed the new initiative.
Sorondo was joined by New Zealand Archbishop David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, as well as Dr. Mahmoud Azab, representing the Grand Imam of Egypt's Al-Azhar Sunni Islam center.
"If you look at the work of Catholic, Anglican and other faith missions over the last three or four decades, they have been engaged in the fight against human trafficking," Moxon noted.
More than 30 million men, women and children are caught in human trafficking, the Vatican said, and through the launch of the Global Freedom Network, they are hoping to galvanize action at the local, national and international level.
One important action will be convincing governments to establish a Global Fund to End Slavery and to persuade big businesses to commit to eradicating slavery from their supply chains.
Pope Francis has condemned human slavery in a number of speeches.
"It is frightful even to think there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, which is a crime against humanity," the Vatican leader told more than 180 ambassadors at the Holy See in a speech in January.
Another rising anti-slavery movement started a couple of years ago and supported by Atlanta pastor Louie Giglio of Passion Conference, the "End It" campaign, has also been growing, with 12 anti-trafficking organizations uniting to try to put an end to human trafficking. The movement has attracted the support of many young students.
"This young generation is motivated about doing good in this world. Touching the life of the least of these. That's at the core of our Christian message, that's the core of the message of Jesus, is to take the Gospel, the Good News of God, to the last and least of these," Giglio told The Christian Post last week.
"Not just to those who are on the up and up, but to those who really don't have a voice of their own. That's what young people are rallying around, they're passionate about making a difference with their lives."