Pope Francis has denounced in his “Pope Video” for February the “dirty, underhanded… corruption” of human traffickers, describing their profits from desperate migrant victims as “blood money”.

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The full text of the Pope’s intention for victims of human traffickers is below:

Migrants are often victims of criminal human smuggling and human trafficking.

Among other causes, this happens because of corruption on the part of people willing to do anything for financial gain.

The money from their dirty, underhanded business is blood money. I’m not exaggerating: it’s blood money.

We pray that the cries of our migrant brothers and sisters, victims of criminal human smuggling and human trafficking, may be heard and considered.

It has become the custom of Pope Francis to release a video message detailing his prayer intention for each month.

The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network of the Apostleship of Prayer developed “The Pope Video” initiative to assist in the worldwide dissemination of monthly intentions of the Holy Father in relation to the challenges facing humanity.

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Selected Pope quotes on human traffickers and trafficking:

Trafficking in persons… constitutes “an open wound on the body of contemporary society”, a profound injury to the humanity of those who suffer it and to its perpetrators. Trafficking profoundly disfigures the humanity of the victim, offending his or her freedom and dignity. Yet at the same time, it dehumanizes those who carry it out, denying them access to “life in abundance”…

Trafficking seriously damages humanity as a whole, tearing apart the human family as well as the Body of Christ.

Trafficking… represents an unjustifiable violation of the freedom and dignity of its victims, of those constitutive dimensions of the human being as willed and created by God. For this reason, it is to be considered a crime against humanity.

– Address to participants at the International Conference on Human Trafficking, April 11 2019

This plague [people smuggling] reduces many men, women and children to slavery for the purposes of labour and sexual exploitation, trade in organs, mendicancy and forced delinquency. Even here in Rome.

Migration routes too are often used by traffickers and exploiters to recruit new trafficking victims. It is the responsibility of all to denounce these injustices and to firmly oppose this shameful crime.

– Angelus, July 29 2018

Slavery is not something from other times. It is a practice that has deep roots and continues to manifest itself today and in many different ways: trafficking of human beings, exploitation of work through debt, exploitation of children, sexual exploitation and forced domestic work are some of the many forms. Each one is as serious and inhuman as the others.

– Video message to the participants in the International Forum on Modern Slavery, Buenos Aires, May 5 2018

I have never missed an opportunity to openly denounce trafficking as a crime against humanity.

It is “a true form of slavery, unfortunately more and more widespread, which concerns every country, even the most developed. It is a reality which affects the most vulnerable in society: women of all ages, children, the handicapped, the poorest, and those who come from broken families and from difficult situations in society”.

I have also said that “what is called for, then, is a shared sense of responsibility and firmer political will to gain victory on this front.

“Responsibility is required towards those who have fallen victim to trafficking in order to protect their rights, to guarantee their safety and that of their families, and to prevent the corrupt and criminals from escaping justice and having the last word over the lives of others”.

– Address to participants in the World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action against Human Trafficking, February 12 2018

Experience shows that such modern forms of slavery [as human trafficking] are far more widespread than previously imagined, even – to our scandal and shame –within the most prosperous of our societies.

– Greeting to members of the “Santa Marta Group”, February 9 2018

… There exists another devastating assault on life linked to this environmental contamination favoured by illegal mining. I am speaking of human trafficking: slave labour and sexual abuse. Violence against adolescents and against women cries out to heaven. “I have always been distressed at the lot of those who are victims of various kinds of human trafficking. How I wish that all of us would hear God’s cry, ‘Where is your brother?’ (Gen 4:9). Where is your brother or sister who is enslaved? Let us not pretend and look the other way. There is greater complicity than we think. This issue involves everyone!”

– Apostolic Journey to Chile and Peru, meeting with indigenous people of Amazonia, January 19 2018

(With information from the Vatican Migrants & Refugees Section and Vatican News)

Next on Novena:

Pope Video for January 2020: Pope encourages “reconciliation and fraternity” in “divided and fragmented” world

Pope warns on migrant, human trafficking crises: “Our indifference is a sin!”

Pope condemns this “vice” as “slavery”, “criminal”, “disgusting”, “torture”

Pope condemns “hostility and indifference” of closing ports to refugees

Francis: human traffickers “unscrupulous persons who exploit the poverty and suffering of those fleeing situations of conflict or extreme poverty”

Pope pleads for “fraternal love” to save needy from “frost of indifference and inhumanity”


Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.