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Cardinal Parolin denounces forced labor in fishing industry

November 22, 2016

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People hosted a discussion on November 21 on the exploitation of some workers in the fishing industry.

“Two centuries after the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, at least 20.9 million people continue to work under coercion, largely in the informal and illegal economy,” said Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State. “About 90% of today’s forced labor is imposed by private agents, primarily in labor-intensive industries, such as fisheries.”

Lamenting the plight of workers who are stripped of their identification and ability to communicate with the outside world, he said, “We are, in essence, faced with persons deprived of their identity, with low wages and who are unable to rebuild their lives if let free.”

Cardinal Parolin called upon all to work for the end of forced labor:

In responding to the needs of a changing world that is constantly seeking justice, solidarity, dignity and respect for the rights of every person, especially the weakest and most vulnerable, each of us is called to make their own contribution, in proportion to their ability, to free the slaves from the trade in humans, which is today practiced on a global scale.

 
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