"Climate change and modern slavery are very much linked because it is the climate change that is creating the environment for criminals to actually find their commodity, which is human beings who are displaced because of the climate change."
Tuesday's workshop was part of a July 21-22 symposium sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PAS), titled "Prosperity, People and Planet: Achieving Sustainable Development in Our Cities."
The theme of the conference represents the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences' current review of "Sustainable Development Goals" (SDGs), a project in which Hyland is taking part.
He is also a member of the Santa Marta Group, launched by Pope Francis in 2014, which is an alliance of international police chiefs and bishops from across the world who work together with civil society to eradicate human trafficking and provide pastoral care to victims.
On Tuesday, Pope Francis addressed the participants, touching on various themes such the issue of human trafficking, which he said can be a "rebound effect" of environmental degradation. The Pope will address the United Nations during his tour of the United States in September.
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Remarking on the pontiff's address, executive director of the C40 cities climate change group Mark Watts, told CNA he was struck by the connection drawn between climate change and slavery.
"I think it was that message of: if you want to make the world a better place right now, and you want to tackle climate change, there is one thing you have to do, which is tackle inequality," Watts said.
The Pope in his speech showed how "the effects of climate change that we are already experiencing is causing a big increase in migration as people flee areas where life is no longer sustainable," Watts said.