ROME – After having tried his hand last month at promoting peace in the Middle East, Pope Francis this week waded into another of the world’s seemingly intractable problems, in this case a booming illegal industry of trafficking in human beings.
On Tuesday, senior papal advisors took part in a session in Rome with American anti-trafficking experts designed as a lead-in to the first United Nations-sponsored “International Day Against Human Trafficking” on Wednesday.
The session built on a new anti-trafficking foundation recently launched by Pope Francis along with Anglican and Muslim leaders called the “Global Freedom Network,” which is funded by Australian philanthropist and mining magnate Andrew Forrest.
Its aim is to engage religious groups in combating a 21st century version of human slavery that’s estimated to involve 27 million to 30 million people, and to generate $32 billion in annual revenue.
A senior papal aide on Tuesday described the fight as among Francis’ key priorities, and said the pontiff isn’t daunted by the magnitude of the challenge.
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