Loading
DNC faith forum speakers point to global poverty and modern slavery as faith issues

.-

Two speakers paneling the “Faith in Action Forum” at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday discussed how people of faith can help address global poverty, mass migration, human trafficking and the underreported problem of modern slavery. 

Sr. Simone Campbell, a Sister of St. Joseph and director of NETWORK, a self-described social justice lobby, discussed how in inter-religious discussions she and others found that their “faith values,” though different, often coincided with their shared “highest ideals.”

Noting that many religions teach that the “measure of our compassion is how we respond to the poor,” she argued that the response to poverty requires “significant re-thinking.” Describing how poverty contributes to various major problems such as hunger and HIV/AIDS, she said that mass migration has eliminated many poor people’s resources to alleviate poverty.

Sr. Campbell explained that anti-poverty efforts in the twentieth century often focused on rural electrification, which lowered the mortality rate and improved hygiene.

However, such improvements had unintended consequences.

By giving people who are hungry access to television, they “see another option” and become hopeful of achieving a better life.

This prompts many to leave their rural areas and move to cities, causing depopulation problems in their home areas and straining resources in urban areas.

Such situations, Sr. Campbell argued, destabilize societies and families while also weakening rural culture, problems further worsened by globalization.

Turning to the movement of people across borders, Sr. Campbell noted that there are treaties regarding the free movement of capital, but no treaties regarding the free movement of labor.

She then recited a poem she wrote which called the impoverished migrants “human coins, illegal tender, swept into the dustbin… tossed into cages.”

“They are spare change, tossed on the counter of globalization and forgotten.”

Following Sr. Campbell’s presentation, University of Denver professor Dr. Claude d’Estree spoke of the problem of human slavery.

In these modern times, he said, it is an “outrage we even have to talk about human slavery.”

However, he lamented, there are between 23 and 27 million slaves in the world today. While we have seen the abolition of “chattel slavery,” in which human bondage is legally institutionalized, its abolition has only moved slavery “into the shadows.”

D’Estree claimed there are even more slaves alive today than at any time in history.

Slavery, he explained, can appear good to those dying of malnutrition.

He told how people sell themselves into slavery to pay off debts, which are often incurred not by the slave but by his or her relatives and passed down through generations. Even if a slave is freed, he or she was employed for such menial tasks that the unskilled slave has little hope of escaping impoverished conditions.

Life is cheap in the modern slave trade, in which two slaves can be sold for an average price under $100, d’Estree claimed.

Turning to the United States, d’Estree said that between 15,000 and 17,000 people are trafficked into the United States each year.

“In major American cities, people are forced to labor without compensation,” he reported, claiming that at some point in a given year as many as 50,000 to 100,000 people are kept in slave conditions, mainly in the sex trade, agricultural labor, the service industry, or the garment industry.

According to d’Estree, organized crime is frequently involved in the slave trade because unlike drugs or guns, “human beings can be sold over and over again.”

D’Estree also suggested that the annual U.S. government’s “Trafficking in Persons Report” cannot be trusted, calling it a “political piece” in which countries disfavored by the U.S. government are labeled the worst offenders while U.S. allies’ faults are minimized. Further, he alleged, such reports are forbidden by law to consider slave conditions within the United States.

The speaker said religious groups can help combat the injustice of slavery.

“Religion is a sleeping giant in the fight against trafficking,” remarked Professor d’Estree, who is a Buddhist minister.

D’Estree called for a “truly inter-faith” approach to the problem, also arguing that some people see trafficking victims as targets for proselytism, which he argued victimizes people a second time.

“Break the bonds of slavery,” he exhorted the crowd.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
21

Liturgical Calendar

April 21, 2014

Monday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14
04/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 2:14, 22-33
Gospel:: Mt 28:8-15

Saint of the Day

Holy Thursday »

Saint
Date
04/21/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14
04/19/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: