“The Church has a role to protect the vulnerable, and if we follow the words of the Pope, we actually bring into account those who create the suffering of others,” said Kevin Hyland, United Kingdom Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and one of the speakers at the gathering.
In an interview with CNA, Hyland said the pontiff has shown his leadership in bringing together the themes of slavery and climate change, as demonstrated by his ability to draw together international leaders to confront the issue.
“Pope Francis talks about it in a way that people understand. He’s talking about it in the terms of human lives: That fact that we are exploiting not just people now, but the future, and if we don’t act now in this current time, we are destroying the world for the future generation.”
Hyland was one of the speakers in the July 21 workshop in the Vatican entitled “Modern Slavery and Climate Change: the Commitment of the Cities,” during which dozens of mayors from around the world were invited to present on the theme of climate change and slavery.
Vulnerable people, he explained, become targets of slavery when they are unable to sustain themselves, be it the result of conflict or disasters – including those brought about by climate change.
These individuals, he said, “then become the very commodity that criminals that exploit people through modern slavery target.”
“Climate change and modern slavery are very much linked because it is the climate change that is creating the environment for criminals to actually find their commodity, which is human beings who are displaced because of the climate change.”
Press link for more: Ann Schneible | catholicnewsagency.com