Pope Francis visits refuge for former prostitutes
Pope Francis has visited a special community for women freed from prostitution and violent abuse as his latest ‘Mercy Friday’ initiative during the Jubilee. During his visit to the “Pope John XXIII Community” in Rome, the Pope met the 20 women who are being cared for there, all of whom have suffered severe physical violence and live under protection. He urged the women to be strong as they make a fresh start. Pope Francis has met with members of the community at the Vatican on several occasions.
A press release issued by the Vatican described the visit as a concrete sign of the Pope’s repeated criticism of human trafficking, which he has called “a crime against humanity” and “a plague in the contemporary body of humanity, a wound in the flesh of Christ.” The Vatican held a major conference to discuss the eradication of human trafficking was held by the at the United Nations headquarters in New York in May this year.
The women hosted by the community present at the meeting are from all over the world, – six from Romania, four from Albania, seven from Nigeria, and one each from Tunisia, Italy and the Ukraine. The average age of the women is around 30 years.
The general manager of the community, John Paul Ramonda, the chaplain, Don Aldo, two street workers and the apartment manager were also present at what was the Pope’s eighth act of mercy, for his “Mercy Friday” initiative.
The Pope John XXIII Community is currently caring for 400 women and has helped more than 7,000 women and girls over the last 25 years. According to the Walk Free organisation, 45.8m people around the world are victims of slavery.