Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Today is the first UN World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. To commemorate the day, the U.K. Ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Baker, has blogged about a roundtable hosted by Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Vatican-based Global Freedom Network (an initiative of Pope Francis and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby) and the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See. He has entitled the piece, “Human Trafficking: Responding to the Pope’s Appeal.”
Teaching, writing, and studying Human Trafficking can be a dark subject matter. This was underscored for me this summer when I taught my Human Trafficking seminar every day in Catholic University Law School’s Rome Human Rights Program – as opposed to once a week as in a regular semester. I saw that the material became a bit overwhelming to these young adults in the class when faced with such a volume of information at such a fast pace. It is often difficult to see anything positive in the field. Yet, this post struck me for two reasons.
First, it is a nice reflective piece on concrete ways governments, religious institutions, and private entities can come together to address a complex social issue. It is no surprise to me that central in this event was the U.S. Ambassador at Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Person, Luis CdeBaca. He has done an excellent job of recognizing and including in this movement the work of religious organizations and private entities.
Second, and somewhat unrelated – it struck this Irish woman how amazing it was that a British official was publicly posting a reflection on how we all need to respond to a pope’s appeal for action. It is not only that one could not have imagined such an act 20 years ago. One could not underestimate the tension between Catholics and non-Catholic in Britain - less than 7 years ago former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was called a “fool” for converting to Catholicism.
Yet, today we see unity from across social groups behind this abolitionist movement as reflected in this blog piece.
Therefore, notwithstanding the difficulty in working in this area, there are small rays of hope that great social challenges can be overcome…and Catholic legal and social thought is playing a role.