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Forum on modern slavery convenes in Argentina

Forum on modern slavery convenes in Argentina

©Metropolis of Buenos Aires

17 May 2018

Under the auspices of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, an international forum on modern slavery convened in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 5-8 May. This forum, the second of kits kind, was entitled “Old Problems in the New World,”and was cosponsored by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Buenos Aires and South America, and the Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute based in Berkeley, California, USA.

The purpose of this gathering was to bring together practitioners, policymakers, theologians, and scholars from within Latin America and other parts of the world to explore the myriad dimensions of the scourge of modern-day slavery.

The forum was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina, with welcoming remarks from government officials, dignitaries and various religious leaders.

The program began with a visual media presentation of the global scope of modern slavery, followed by a testimony of the impact of modern slavery on vulnerable populations of children and marginalized social groups.  Most of the forum was structured around three panels, beginning with the theological foundations for understanding the Christian responsibility to eliminate all forms of enslavement of a person.

The second panel identified the distinct and interconnected manifestations of modern slavery, including trafficking and smuggling, sexual exploitation, and human supply chains, and the public health impacts of those practices. The final panel presented diverse programs and initiatives currently underway by faith-based organizations and communities.

The forum produced “A Common Declaration of Unity Against the Sin of Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery.” Signatories to the declaration pledged to initiate and undertake every effort to heal the brokenness caused by modern slavery and to restore to every person their God-given dignity.