Victims always come first, Pope tells trafficking summit

Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

Credit: Daniel Ibanez/CNA

VATICAN, June 5, 2016– Pope Francis asked judges, prosecutors and magistrates gathered at the Vatican for a summit on human trafficking this week to remember that the victims always come first.

“The victims are the first who need to be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society — and their traffickers and executioners must be given no quarter and pursued,” the Holy Father said in his address to the judges on June 3.

“Victims can recover and in fact we know that they can regain control of their lives with the help of good judges, social workers and society as a whole,” he added.

The summit, organized by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, is the latest effort by Pope Francis and the Holy See to combat modern forms of slavery, including human trafficking, forced labor, the trade in organs and organized crime.

Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken out against human trafficking in the past, calling it a “shameful wound” which has no place in “civil society.”