Pope Francis called for joint action against human trafficking and to ensure protection and assistance for the victims. "I invite all people, citizens and institutions, to join forces to prevent trafficking and to ensure protection and support to victims," said the pope in off-the-cuff remarks at the end of his general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday.
"We pray that the Lord might convert traffickers' hearts and give hope to all those suffering from this shameful plight that they might regain their freedom," he continued.
World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Trafficking
Thursday is the World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking. "The theme for this year is 'Migration without trafficking. Yes to freedom! No to trafficking!'," said the pope.
"Having few possibilities of regular channels, many migrants decide to make their way by other routes, where abuse of all kinds, exploitation and reduction into slavery are often waiting for them. Human trafficking organizations use these migration routes to conceal their victims among the migrants and refugees," he concluded. On Tuesday, in his 2018 Lenten message, Pope Francis said that violence against migrants was one of the signs that charity has died within people's hearts. "More than anything else, what destroys charity is greed for money, 'the root of all evil', (1 Tim 6:10)," the message read ahead of the start of Lent next week.
"The rejection of God and his peace soon follows; we prefer our own desolation rather than the comfort found in his word and the sacraments. "All this leads to violence against anyone we think is a threat to our own "certainties: the unborn child, the elderly and infirm, the migrant, the alien among us, or our neighbor who does not live up to our expectations", he said.