Hope Against Human Trafficking

Speaking to judges and prosecutors at a Vatican summit on human trafficking and modern slavery on June 3, Pope Francis said, “You are responsible for executing justice,” the ones “called to give hope.” The pope had been given a warm welcome by some 100 judges and prosecutors from all over the world. They had spent the day sharing experiences dealing with cases of human trafficking and making proposals for national and transnational action to combat these crimes, which have made victims of an estimated 40 million men, women and children. After thanking them for the work they are doing in this field, often in difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances, Pope Francis encouraged them “to fulfill their vocation and their crucial mission—to establish justice—without which there is neither order nor sustainable and integral development, nor social peace.” He emphasized the importance of their work in defense of “the dignity and freedom of men and women today” and in particular “to eradicate human trafficking and smuggling and the new forms of slavery such as forced labor, prostitution, organ trafficking, the drug trade and organized crime.” He denounced these forms of modern slavery as “real crimes against humanity.”

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Pope Francis waves as he arrives to lead his general audience in Paul VI hall at the Vatican Dec. 13. (CNS photo/Tony Gentile, Reuters)
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