Africa’s New Forms of Slavery in Focus

CAPE COAST, Ghana, NOV. 16, 2007 ( Though forced labor in Africa was abolished 200 years ago, bishops of that continent and Europe are considering new forms of slavery endured by the African people.

The Council of European Bishops’ Conferences and the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar have jointly organized a conference called “I Know the Suffering of My People,” under way through Sunday in Cape Coast. The Vatican Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples is supporting the conference.

In the course of the meeting there will be numerous visits to local communities and on the final day, a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Africa.

“Many people, in Europe and Asia, are still slaves of poverty and injustice, above all because of the lack of an equal distribution of the planet’s resources,” said Cardinal Josip Bozanic of Zagreb, Croatia, vice president of the European bishops’ conference.

Participants are considering themes ranging from slavery in the Bible, a culture of life and family, reconciliation and the healing of memories, and continued collaboration between the Church in Africa and Europe.