The open wound: Slavery in the contemporary world

Stephen J. McKinney, Honor Hania and Robert J. Hill

Pope Francis has made it one of the aims of his pontificate to challenge slavery. This article provides an introduction to the social evil of contemporary slavery and examines slavery in the Old and New Testaments. Stephen J. McKinney and Honor Hania are from the University of Glasgow, Robert J. Hill is parish priest of
St Matthew?s, Bishopbriggs.

Pope Francis has drawn attention to human trafficking and other forms of contemporary slavery, the forced labour that is an affront to the dignity of the human person. He has highlighted a serious social evil that dehumanises millions of people throughout the world.? His commitment to this cause mirrors that of John Paul II, who condemned slavery in 2002, stating quite unequivocally:? ?trade in human persons constitutes a shocking offence against human dignity and a grave violation of fundamental human rights?.1 When Pope Francis was the Archbishop of Buenos Aires he exposed the practice of contemporary slavery and he celebrated Mass every year in the city?s Constitution Square for the victims of human trafficking. He has continued this mission into his pontificate with rigour.

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