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A scandal and a shame: Pope Francis says human trafficking a bigger problem than we’d imagined

CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP
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Says that beyond fighting criminals, we have to look at responsible use of technology

Just after Thursday’s International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking, Pope Francis today addressed members of the Santa Marta Group, made up of leaders in law enforcement, research and public policy, and pastoral assistance.

The group has concluded a conference, which the pope said he hoped shed light on “the interplay between the global and local aspects of human trafficking.”

“Experience shows that such modern forms of slavery are far more widespread than previously imagined, even – to our scandal and shame –within the most prosperous of our societies,” he said.

Francis said that the story of Cain and Abel “challenges us to examine seriously the various forms of complicity by which society tolerates, and encourages, particularly with regard to the sex trade, the exploitation of vulnerable men, women and children.”

Thus, he asserted, initiatives to combat human trafficking have to go beyond combatting criminal structures and include things such as responsible use of technology and the communications media.

He also noted the need to support victims of these crimes, saying that the “Church is grateful for every effort made to bring the balm of God’s mercy to the suffering, for this also represents an essential step in the healing and renewal of society as a whole.”

The Santa Marta Group began its work against human trafficking in 2014, thanks to the work of the pope in establishing the panel.

 

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