Prosperous nations where foreign women are forced into prostitution need to drop their hypocrisy and “face the idea that they are part of the problem, rather than turning away, proclaiming their innocence,” Pope Francis said.
“If many young women victims of trafficking end up on the streets of our cities, it is because many men here – young men, middle aged, older men – ask for their services and are ready to pay,” the pope told a group of adults and teenagers who had taken part in a reflection on human trafficking.
Meeting the group on 12th February, Pope Francis responded to questions from the high school students and from young migrants about ways they could help fight trafficking and reach out to survivors.
One of the migrants asked the pope why there was such a “surprising silence” about the reality of trafficking.
Part of it is ignorance, the pope said, but much of the silence comes from embarrassment. Citizens must be “courageous and honest” enough to acknowledge people working in prostitution or slave-like conditions and reach out to help them.
Picture: Pope Francis meets at the Vatican with Italian young people, adults and migrants rescued from human traffickers on 12th February. The pope responded to the questions five of the young people asked about preventing trafficking and assisting survivors. (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano).