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Human trade: Ecumenical Patriarchate and Churches of England, “We regret our blindness and indifference”

An appeal to government leaders and heads of State to prosecute the people involved in human trade, preventing any kind of modern slavery, and protecting victims; creation of a task force through which the Orthodox Church and the Church of England may collaborate to fight this “cruel kind of exploitation”: the International Modern Slavery Forum of Istanbul (in Fener, the headquarters of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople), held on initiative by Patriarch Bartholomew and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby ended with the signature of a Joint Declaration. The Forum was entitled “Sins before our eyes”. It was born in 2017, which was named the Year of Childhood Holiness by the Ecumenical Patriarchate. In the Declaration, the Churches recall that, above all, women and children are the innocent victims human trade, prostitution, and sale of human organs. “Anything the Church says; anything the Church does, it is in the name of God and for the goodness of human dignity”, said Patriarch Bartholomew during his speech at the Forum. “It is impossible for the Church to shut its eyes before evil, being indifferent to the cry of the people in need, the oppressed and the exploited. Real faith is the source of permanent fight against inhumanity causes”. “Slavery is among us”, added Archbishop Welby, “but we are too blind to see it. It is in our hands, but we are too insensitive to touch it. Slaves are around us in the street, but we are too selfish to walk beside them. Slavery cannot and must not be limited to a simple note of history”. “Our sins are our blindness and our ignorance”. Any kind of human slavery is condemned, and the international community is required to make any possible effort to fight it. We Churches “regret not doing enough and quickly to limit modern slavery; we admit that our ignorance and our indifference are the worst types of tolerance and complicity. Every day, we are judged by what we refuse to see, and we are not able to do more for the most vulnerable of us”.

 

 

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