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Pope Francis

Nicolás Maduro meets with the pope in surprise visit to Rome

October 24, 2016. Pope Francis met with Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro. The private visit took place in the midst of the "worrysome political, social, and economic situation the country is going through, which is having serious repercussins in the daily life of the people,” according to a statement from the Vatican.

Holy See and Vietnam begin their 6th bilateral meeting today

October 24, 2016. The sixth meeting between the Holy See and a delegation of Vietnam begins today to improve relations between the two states. The Vatican delegation is headed by Antoine Camilleri, while the head of the Vietnamese delegation is Bui Thanh Son, with Foreign Affairs. The last meeting between the two state delegations was in September 2014.
Pope Francis

Pope to award 2016 Ratzinger Prize to Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles

October 20, 2016. The winners of this year's Ratzinger Prize will be Inos Biffi and Ioannis Kourempeles. The former, an Italian priest, is an expert in Systematic Theology and History of Medieval Theology. The latter is Greek and an Orthodox. He is an expert in History of Dogmas and Dogmatic Theology. He will be the first Orthodox to be awarded the prize given by the Joseph Ratzinger Foundation, considered by many the Nobel Prize of Theology.
Pope Francis

Pope Francis sends his condolences to Thais after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej

October 14, 2016. Pope Francis has sent a message to the Prime Minister of Thailand to express his condolences for the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was 88 years old, and his reign spanned seven decades. Pope Francis said he is "deeply saddened” and he expresses his closeness to the members of the royal family and the Thai people.
Pope Francis

Pope sends 100,000 dollars for Hurricane Matthew victims

October 14, 2016. Through the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum", Pope Francis will send $100,000 to the victims of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. The money will fund relief efforts in the first stages of recovery after the devastating effects of the hurricane. With this gesture, the pope wants to express his "closeness of spirit and fatherly support” to everyone in the affected area.
Pope Francis

Pope authorizes new decrees of heroic virtues for four potential saints

October 11, 2016. Pope Francis authorized the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to promulgate the decree of heroic virtues to four people, who are being investigated by the Church for possible sainthood. The decrees were given to the following "Servants of God:”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis rejects death penalty on Twitter: #NoDeathPenalty

October 10, 2016. The Pope has has given his support via Twitter to the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The following message can be read in each of his nine accounts, in their respective languages: "Punishment should necessarily include hope! #NoDeathPenalty.”
Pope Francis

Pope Francis announces Synod about youth and vocation

October 6, 2016. It will be held in 2018 under the name "Youth, faith, and vocational discernment.” Preparations for the second Synod of bishops convened by Pope Francis are well underway.

Theme chosen for 2017 World Communications Day

September 29, 2016. The theme for the 2017 World Communications Day has officially been announced. Coming from the book of Isiah, the theme is: "Fear not, for I am with you: communicating hope and trust in our time.”
Pope Francis

Pope will not be able to travel to Israel on Friday to attend the funeral of Shimon Peres

September 28, 2016. Despite the rumors that Pope Francis will travel to Israel to attend Shimon Peres funeral, the Vatican has issued a statement officially announcing a confirmation for the pope's scheduled visit to Georgia and Azerbaijan will remain as planned on Friday. The pope spoke warmly about the former leader and sent out a telegram of condolences:
Pope Francis

Pope's schedule during his trip to Sweden

September 27, 2016. Pope Francis will travel to Sweden next October 31 and November 1, for the occasion of the Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation.This will be the 17th trip of his pontificate.

Vatican provides support for ecumenical group that aids trafficking victims


Pope Francis has made clear his stance on human traffickers, denouncing them as "merchants in human flesh.”

POPE FRANCIS (January 20, 2014)
"I would like to thank those who work with migrants, who welcome them and accompany them in their difficult moments, to defend them against those whom Blessed Giovanni Battista Scalabrini called 'the merchants in human flesh,' who want to enslave the migrants.”

It's hard to come up with statistics, and the total numbers of trafficking victims. However, it is possible to talk about a rise in cases, in large part due to poor living conditions in impoverished countries. 

For over 15 years, COATNET, a group linked to Caritas Internationalis, assists and guides victims emerging from this nightmare.

Organizer, COATNET
"We work to raise awareness. For example, one of our partners, Caritas Armenia, has an awareness campaign in schools to talk about trafficking. Other assistance our network provides is to find refuge for victims. We also provide counseling, and legal aid.”

COATNET is an ecumenical network made up of 37 Christian groups. Its founders felt that if criminal groups establish networks among themselves, so must the people that fight against this crime.

International Policy Director, Caritas
"There were many groups active in fighting against this, but they didn't know each other. When victims from Eastern Europe began arriving, they needed to be sent to reliable groups to help them. That's where the idea came from. There were many Christian groups helping out, even though not all of them are Catholic. That's why we said: 'Why not form a network? If criminals work in networks, we should also form our own network to take on these crimes.'”

However, this crime has many different aspects. COATNET said one of the fastest growing forms of human trafficking is forced labor, fueled by the global economic crisis.

International Policy Director, Caritas
"According to the International Labor Organization, this is one of the least talked about topics, and a phenomenon seen all around the world, and which has grown because of the economic crisis.”

COATNET has called on governments for greater commitment to fighting human trafficking. They also push for the full application of laws to protect victims and to punish the criminals that benefit from the suffering of others.