John Kerry on working with the Vatican against slavery

John Kerry at Vatican

Last month, I travelled to Rome with President Obama, where I was honoured to meet Pope Francis. As an altar boy six decades ago, I never imagined that I would find myself crossing the threshold of the Vatican, writes John Kerry in The Boston Globe.

My wife, Teresa, and I took our own pilgrimage three years ago at Easter to Assisi, and travelled to Porziuncala to see the chapel which St Francis restored out of the rubble, one of his own special ways of acting upon the prophecy visited upon him to 'repair my house.'

Two years later, Teresa and I sat in Mass at Georgetown as our priest shared the moving story of the moment Pope Francis decided to take Francis for his name as the Holy Father – after the Cardinal from Brazil shared his caution not to 'forget the poor.'

Today, all the world knows that this was more than a symbolic statement by Pope Francis, but rather the start of a mission that is now an example to the world. Today, as the first Catholic Secretary of State in 33 years, I find special joy and pride in the way that the United States can partner with the Holy See to help meet some of our greatest global challenges.

Among those challenges, we find perhaps no greater threat to human dignity, no greater assault on basic freedom, than the evil of human trafficking — what we call modern-day slavery and what Pope Francis himself denounced as 'a crime against humanity.'

Whether it comes in the form of a young girl trapped in a brothel, a woman enslaved as a domestic worker, a boy forced to sell himself on the street, or a man abused on a fishing boat, the victims of this crime have been robbed of the right to lead the lives they choose for themselves.

For years, it has been apparent that this crime affects every country in the world. As many as 27 million people are victims, and the United States is the first to acknowledge that no government anywhere is doing enough.

Photo: US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) spoke with Vatican Secretary of State Archbishop Pietro Parolin (right) in January

FULL STORY Working with the Vatican against slavery (The Boston Globe)

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