On July 21, Pope Francis held a Conference on Climate Change and Human Trafficking at the Vatican. Mayors from around the world were in attendance, as were human trafficking victims who told their stories of exploitation. At the conference, the pope pointed out that human trafficking and climate change are in fact connected, and our treatment of the environment has ramifications for how we treat people:
“We cannot separate man from everything else. There is a relationship which has a huge impact, both on the person in the way they treat the environment and the rebound effect against man when the environment is mistreated.”
As Nicole Winfield summarizes in the Globe and Mail,
“The exploitation of the Earth and its most vulnerable people [are connected], with global warming often responsible for creating environmental refugees forced to flee homes because of drought or other climate-induced natural disasters.”
Fossil fuel emissions, the rampant growth of cities – which give rise to shanty towns and slums – and greed-based economics were just some of the issues Pope Francis brought to the table, urging mayors to make decisions that would benefit the environment and the poor.
Read full articles:
- Pope laments ‘meaningless lives’ in tying human trafficking to climate change
- World mayors at Vatican: Climate change is real, man-made and must be contained
- While many try to take “morality” out of the discussion surrounding human trafficking, Pope Francis demonstrates that morality on some level in fact has always been at the forefront of social justice.
- The poor often feel environmental degradation first. For example, when a river that was once a village source of food and income becomes polluted and kills all the fish, families become desperate and more vulnerable to exploitation. While the rich can simply move to a nicer area, the poor do not have that luxury.
- The fight against human trafficking is multi-faceted and requires a holistic approach. Injustice weaves itself through various sectors.
- Greed is usually at the root of resistance to the message of environmental stewardship. Our consumerism and corporate culture have profound effects on human suffering.
Photo credit: Creative Commons/Catholic Church England and Wales