Pope Francis addresses delegates at the first Santa Marta Group Conference.
Pope Francis joined delegates at the first Santa Marta Group Conference in Rome in 2014 and gave an address describing Human Trafficking as “An open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity”.
He gave his full backing to the initiative, encouraging Cardinal Nichols in his leadership of the group. He has met the Santa Marta Group every year at its annual conference in the Vatican and continues to promote its work and development as the initiative has grown.
Pope's full address
Brother Bishops and Priests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I greet each of you participating in this Conference, held here in the Vatican to promote united efforts against human trafficking. I thank Cardinal Nichols for organizing this meeting, and the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences for hosting it.
Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity. The very fact of our being here to combine our efforts means that we want our strategies and areas of expertise to be accompanied and reinforced by the mercy of the Gospel, by closeness to the men and women who are victims of this crime.
Our meeting today includes law enforcement authorities, who are primarily responsible for combating this tragic reality by a vigorous application of the law. It also includes humanitarian and social workers, whose task it is to provide victims with welcome, human warmth and the possibility of building a new life. These are two different approaches, but they can and must go together. To dialogue and exchange views on the basis of these two complementary approaches is quite important. Conferences such as this are extremely helpful, and, I would say, much needed.
I believe that one important sign of this is the fact that, one year after your first meeting, you have regrouped from throughout the world in order to advance your common efforts. I thank you for your readiness to work together. I pray that our Lord will assist you and that Our Lady will watch over you.