Faith Matters

Pope visits refugee centre to remind of need to fight human trafficking

Pope Francis talks to a woman during his visit to the Papa Giovanni XXIII community in Rome. Picture by AP

Pope Francis has visited a refugee centre housing women rescued from prostitution as part of his `Friday of Mercy' gestures.

Fridays of Mercy involves the Pope carrying out one unscheduled act of mercy a month, mainly in or near Rome, throughout his Jubilee Year of Mercy, which runs until November.

The home he visited is run by the Papa Giovanni XXIII community in Rome.

There, Pope Francis met 20 women rescued from the trade who were trafficked from countries including Romania, Albania, Nigeria, Tunisia, Ukraine, and Italy.

They were all victims of severe physical abuse during their ordeal and are now living under protection.

A statement from the Holy See said the Pope's visit to this refugee centre was a reminder of the need to fight against human trafficking, which the Pope has described as "a crime against humanity" and "an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ".

The Pope's Fridays for Mercy have already involved him visiting a care home for the elderly and people in a vegetative state and a community for drug addicts.

In May, he spent time with those with mental illness before visiting old and ill priests in June and dedicating his July Friday of Mercy to sick children in Krakow.

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