Authorities in the Vatican revealed this week that Pope Francis, the 77-year old leader of the Roman Catholic Church, will deliver a poignant address to the world on January 1, 2015. He will discuss the plight of 36 million human beings who presently endure slave labor conditions.
The Pope’s speech reportedly will direct renewed attention to enslaved populations, covering issues as diverse as enforced factory labor, sex trafficking and child soldiers. The address will challenge global leaders and law enforcement officials to take affirmative measures to end human exploitation in this century. Although slavery remains illegal in virtually all nations, today reportedly some 36 million humans work as slaves.
Pope Francis reportedly hopes to spur action to alleviate their mistreatment and to require the observation of national laws prohibiting slavery. He will urge people to take action on a local level by asking them to refuse to purchase products manufactured by slave labor.
The Pope also will direct attention to the plight of many mistreated women. He specifically condemns forcing women to enter into arranged marriages, or willing them as property to relatives. The elderly Catholic leader’s address is exciting intense interest in many places, in part because he restates the moral principle that human beings in this century should not exploit one another.
His speech is expected to attract a global audience.