Following Pope Francis’ encouragement to combat in every way the different forms of modern slavery, human trafficking, forced labour, the trade in organs and organised crime, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences has invited a large number of judges, prosecutors and magistrates from many different countries – key actors in the struggle against these terrible crimes – to a high level meeting that began today.
The new “Summit” is the latest in a series of important meetings organised by the same Academy with the same purpose, most notably in 2014, with the leaders of the main religions that exercise influence in the globalised world (http://www.endslavery.va/content/endslavery/en/events/declaration.html) and in 2015, with mayors of the principal capitals and large metropolises of many countries (http://www.endslavery.va/content/endslavery/en/events/mayors.html), now convening the principal judges, prosecutors and magistrates of all countries. Pope Francis today had an audience with the summit participants.
The many other attendees include: An important delegation from the United States, led by the Ambassador responsible for the Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Susan Coppedge; the British High Commissioner against modern slavery, Kevin Hyland, along with the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders; the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings, Corinne Dettmeijer- Vermeulen; the United Nations High Commissioner against Human Trafficking, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro; the Swedish Chancellor of Justice Anna Skarhead and author of the Swedish model of combating prostitution (based on the criminalisation of clients).
The Italian participants include the National Anti-Mafia Prosecutor, Franco Roberti; the Public Prosecutor of Rome, Giovanni Salvi; the magistrate Maria Monteleone, who specialises in crimes against women and children, and the anti-Mafia prosecutor and former colleague of Falcone and Borsellino, Antonio Ingroia.
There will also be a large group of Mexicans led by Edgas Elías Azar, president of the High Court of Justice in Mexico, and naturally an important Argentine delegation, chaired by the president of the Supreme Court of Justice, Ricardo Luis Lorenzetti, along with the federal justice Sebastián Casanello and the judge María Romilda Servini di Cubria.
In total, during the two days of meetings in the “Casina Pio IV” (seat of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences), contributions will be heard from the main exponents of justice, in the presence of many other judges and jurists in the role of auditors, forming a total of about one hundred participants.
The work commences with addresses from the Chancellor of the Pontifical Academies, Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, the President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, the renowned sociologist Margaret Archer, the Argentine deputy Gustavo Vera, always on the first line in the defence of the weakest, as well as Professor John McEldowney, collaborator with the Academy and specialist in Common Law, and Jeffrey Sachs, United Nations representative and economic advisor to Ban Ki-Moon.
At the end of the meeting, the participants will be invited to sign a Declaration, along the same lines as those signed the two preceding years by religious leaders and mayors. It is hoped that this meeting may serve to enable judges to express and strengthen their responsibility to peoples, sharing best practices and making proposals for increasingly effective legislation for defending victims and combating these scourges that, in the globalised world, affect more than 40 million people. Information on the event can be found on the website of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences:
The regularly updated programme of the event can be consulted at:
The event will be transmitted by live streaming in Spanish and English, via the following links which correspond to the Academy’s YouTube channel, End Slavery: