Vatican summit pledges aid to fight trafficking

2016-06-03 22:45
A child delivers tea to customers in Lucknow, India as a global slavery index puts India at the top of the list with the world's highest number of bonded and child labourers. (Rajesh Kumar Singh, AP

A child delivers tea to customers in Lucknow, India as a global slavery index puts India at the top of the list with the world's highest number of bonded and child labourers. (Rajesh Kumar Singh, AP

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Vatican City - Judges and prosecutors from around the world are pledging to crack down on human trafficking and help victims of modern-day slavery in the latest Vatican initiative to draw attention to the problem and rally resources to fight it.

Pope Francis is expected to sign a declaration along with participants of a Vatican summit of about 100 judges, prosecutors and other public officials involved in fighting human trafficking and organised crime.

According to the draft declaration, participants call human trafficking, forced labour and prostitution a "crime against humanity" that should be prosecuted as such.

The 10-point declaration pledges increased funding for international co-operation to boost prosecutions of traffickers and consumers of the sex trade  and pledges better support for victims, including issuing temporary residence permits. The draft, which may still be amended, says repatriation should never be the default judgment against victims.

Francis, history's first Latin American pontiff, has made the fight against human trafficking a priority of his pontificate as part of his emphasis on looking out for society's most marginalised, including refugees and the poor.

He and 25 religious leaders signed a declaration in 2014 pledging to eradicate modern-day slavery by 2020. A year later, he invited mayors from around the world to a summit where they pledged to work to end trafficking and the involuntary repatriation of victims.

The 2016 edition focused on judges and prosecutors, with guests including the supreme court judges of Mexico and Argentina, Britain's commissioner against modern slavery and the US ambassador responsible for trafficking.


Read more on:    pope francis  |  vatican city  |  slavery

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