By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Indifference, criminal networks and
powerful economic interests still pose a challenge to those fighting against
human trafficking, Pope Francis said.
While much has been done in recognizing the seriousness
and extent of this “true crime against humanity,” he said, “much more needs
to be done on the level of raising public awareness and effecting a better
coordination of efforts by governments, the judiciary system, law enforcement
officials and social workers.”
The pope spoke Nov. 7 to more than 100 people taking part
in the second assembly of RENATE
— Religious in Europe Networking Against Trafficking and Exploitation. Network
members and supporters were meeting in Rome Nov. 6-12.
In his speech to participants, the pope said this modern
form of slavery was “one of the most troubling” open wounds
afflicting the world today “and constitutes a true crime against humanity.”
The pope thanked those present, especially women
religious, for their “faithful witness to the Gospel of mercy, as
demonstrated in your commitment to the recovery and rehabilitation of victims,”
and for efforts in advocacy, education and building coordinated responses to
“I think especially of the distinctive contribution
made by women in accompanying other women and children on a deeply personal
journey of healing and reintegration,” he added.
However, the pope recognized that one of the challenges
they face “is a certain indifference and even complicity, a tendency on
the part of many to look the other way where powerful economic interests and
networks of crime are at play.”
“For this reason, I express my appreciation of your
efforts to raise public awareness of the extent of this scourge, which
especially affects women and children,” he said.
He said he hoped their meeting would help them become
“a more effective witness to the Gospel in one of the great
peripheries” of the world today.
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