Index identifies 29.8 million people in modern slavery
Slavery still exists around the world on an almost unimaginable scale, according to a study from the Walk Free Foundation.
The Global Slavery Index reported that an estimated 29.8 million people were trafficked in some type of forced labor or the money-for-sex trade during 2013.
The U.S. State Department’s 2013 Trafficking in Persons report estimated that 27 million people are trafficked annually.
The index, the first in what the foundation hopes will be an annual assessment, ranks 162 countries by measuring the estimated prevalence of modern slavery by population, child marriage and human trafficking in and out of a country.
Founded in 2012, Walk Free works to end human trafficking by involving political and business leaders and advocates to produce quality research and raising significant funds to bring change in countries and industries bearing the greatest responsibility for modern slavery.
India holds the dubious distinction of having nearly 14 million people being held against their will, the highest number in the world.
The nine countries next in line include China (2.9 million), Pakistan (2.1 million), Nigeria (701,000), Ethiopia (651,000), Russia (516,000), Thailand (472,000), Congo (462,000), Myanmar (384,000) and Bangladesh (343,000), the index reported. Together, the 10 nations account for 76 percent of all people being trafficked and enslaved, the report said.
The index was referenced in the April issue of the Stop Trafficking! newsletter of the Bakhita Initiative, U.S. Catholic sisters united against human trafficking. About 70 congregations of women religious sponsor the initiative.
The newsletter is a valuable resource for anyone concerned about human trafficking.
The April issue also included a report on fair trade products and how average people can promote labor fairness through their purchases of goods and services.
Issue of humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons gets more attention
Despite not being on the front pages every day, nuclear weapons continue to pose a threat to the world, said participants at a daylong interfaith symposium at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington
Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International was among the participants. She told CNS the April 24 event highlighted growing perspectives on the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, a concern that has largely been overlooked as the world’s nuclear powers have kept the focus on national security and deterrence.
“It’s important to shift the conversation. The conversation has been controlled by the nuclear weapons states,” Dennis said from the United Nations, where she was attending the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee meeting running through May 9.
Sponsored by the Buddhist association Soka Gakkai International, the symposium brought together faith leaders, peace activists and policy experts to identify common concerns and recommit to work to abolish nuclear weapons.
Before adjourning, representatives of 11 faith groups adopted a resolution pledging increased activism toward the abolition of nuclear weapons and sent to the preparatory committee.
Resources for St. Francis Education Program on climate change on the way
It’s not too early to begin thinking about the fall and the observance of the feast of St. Francis of Assisi and connect his love of the environment to Catholic teaching.
The Catholic Climate Covenant, formerly the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, is preparing resources for its St. Francis Education Program that will encourage students of all ages as well as interested adults to take steps to protect God’s creation.
“This year we want to link that feast day to the witness and life of St. Francis as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of him being named the patron saint of those who promote ecology and Pope Francis’ charisma and mind as his papacy unfolds,” said Dan Misleh, covenant executive director.
“And we want to encourage people to act likewise — to live their faith to model what St. Francis has done and what the pope is saying,” he said.
The effort will focus on the themes “From St. Francis to Pope Francis to You! Creating a Climate for Solidarity.” It will include video testimonials with an opportunity for group discussion to explore the effects of climate change on poor and vulnerable people around the world.
Misleh said each program will be offered free in versions for parish groups, youth and college students in both English and Spanish. Programs will carry over into Earth Day observances April 22, 2015 and the saint’s feast later that year.
Information is available online and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.