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Rome Reports

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Pope Francis prays for women affected by genital mutilation, human trafficking

Pilgrims gathered under a clear Roman sky in St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with Pope Francis. 

On the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, the Pope raised awareness about forced circumcisions which affect millions of women, primarily throughout Africa. 

Approximately three million girls undergo this operation every year, often in conditions that are very dangerous to their health. This practice, unfortunately widespread in various regions of the world, demeans the dignity of women and gravely undermines their physical integrity.

Pope Francis recalled that on February 8 the Church observes the World Day of Prayer and Reflection against Human Trafficking. At the Angelus a statue was presented to the Diocese of Rome symbolizing the Church's fight against human trafficking. 

So many girls—we see them on the streets—who are not free, are slaves of traffickers, who send them to work and, if they do not bring the money, beat them. This is happening in our cities today. Let us really think about it.

He also mentioned two recent stories which moved him: one about a village in Morocco that banded together to try to save a child, that later died. 

And another about a sick Ghanaian migrant in Italy whose town sent him home to die in his father's arms. 

This shows us that today, in the midst of so much bad news, there are good things, there are “saints next door.” Thank you for these two testimonies which are good for us.

Pope Francis closed the Angelus by greeting pilgrims from Germany, Poland, and a rowdy group of students from Madrid, Spain.