Today, Pope Francis received in audience members of the Santa Marta Group, on the occasion of the conference promoted by this international organism against the traffic of human beings (October 26-27, 2016).
Here is a translation of the Pope’s words of greeting to those present at the audience.
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Dear Brother Bishops,
Distinguished Gentlemen and Ladies,
I meet you with great pleasure on the occasion of this conference, which develops your collaboration against the traffic of human beings and in support of the victims. I thank Cardinal Nichols for his words and for his commitment to this cause, which constitutes one of the major challenges of our time.
The Santa Marta Group, which brings together ecclesiastical and civil Authorities, is making an important contribution to oppose the social plague of human trafficking, linked to new forms of slavery, with victims who are men and women, often minors, exploited, taken advantage of in their poverty and marginalization. As I wrote you a year ago, on the occasion of your meeting at the Escorial, what is useful is a concerted commitment, active and constant, be it to eliminate the causes of this complex phenomenon, be it to meet, assist and accompany individuals who fall into the snares of trafficking. The number of these victims – international organizations tell us – grows, unfortunately, every year. They are the most vulnerable, whose dignity, physical and psychic integrity and even life is robbed.
Dear friends, I thank you and encourage you to continue in this commitment. The Lord will know how to recompense all that is done for these little ones of today’s society. He has said: “I was hungry … I was thirsty …” and you helped me. Today He could also say: “I was abused, exploited, enslaved …” and you rescued me.
I continue to accompany you with my closeness and my prayer. You too, please, pray for me. Thank you.
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by ZENIT]