Just one month after releasing his landmark encyclical on climate change, on Tuesday August 18th, Pope Francis invited over 60 mayors from cities large and small – including Madrid’s Manuela Carmena and Mexico City’s Miguel Angel Mancera – to the Vatican to discuss ways of dealing with climate change and new forms of slavery.
One of Pope Francis’ arguments is that climate change has had a drastic effect on world poverty and human behavior across the globe. Now he is urging leaders of the world’s industrialized countries to do more to help poorer nations.
Pope Francis has said that climate change has a drastic effect on world poverty and behavior
The mayors of New York, Bogota, Paris and Mexico City, among others, took part in the workshop Modern Slavery and Climate Change: The Commitment of the Cities, which was organized by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
At the workshop, Madrid Mayor Carmena called for an open discussion about the reasons why many youths are spending their money on prostitutes.
“Among youths, there is the issue of why ‘irse de putas’ [to go whoring] and prostitution are so widely accepted,” said Carmena during her 10-minute address.
“If we want to prevent the terrible crime of sexual slavery, we have to reflect on its causes with the appropriate sincerity,” she said.
At the same time, the Ahora Madrid party leader said that “there is no difference” between complying with human rights and fighting political corruption. “What political corruption does is create two societies: the formal, apparent one and the real one,” she said.
Presided by Argentinean fashion model Valeria Mazza, the international gathering opened with the testimonies of two young Mexican women, Karla Jacinto and Ana Laura Pérez, who described their experiences working as slaves.
“My brothers raped me and my mother hated me,” said Jacinto, who explained that she fell in love with a man who forced her into prostitution even after she got pregnant.
Pérez said that she was held captive at a tailor’s shop, where she was beaten and chained so she wouldn’t escape her terrible working conditions.
The pope called the conference to encourage world leaders to come up with a “bold agreement that will confine global warming to a limit that’s safe for humanity while protecting the poor and the vulnerable,” according to a statement released by the academy.
The meeting was held as a precursor to the UN summit on global climate change that will take place in Paris in December.