"The crossing of the desert, the months spent in the Libyan detention camps, the journey at sea, during which she was saved from the shipwreck … Joy's is a story that unites many other people, like her, kidnapped in an infernal chain and struck by the tragedy of the invisibility of trafficking. A story as unknown as it is omnipresent in our globalized societies," Pope Francis wrote in the book's preface, published by L'Osservatore Romano on Jan. 21.
The pope said that traffickers were "unscrupulous individuals who thrive on the misfortunes of others [and] take advantage of people's desperation to subjugate them to their power." But he also had a message for consumers who sustain human trafficking.
Pope Francis wrote: "At this point, I cannot help but ask the reader a question: since there are countless young women, victims of trafficking, who end up on the streets of our cities, how much does this reprehensible reality derive from the fact that many men, here, require these 'services' and show themselves willing to buy another person, annihilating her in her inalienable dignity?"
He continued: "In reading this memorial we are led to discover, page after page, how much Joy's testimony nails us before the prejudices and responsibilities that make us conniving actors in these events."
"It will do us good to stand beside Joy and stop with her on her 'places' of helpless and innocent pain. After stopping there, it will be impossible to remain indifferent when we hear about the boats adrift, ignored and even rejected from our shores. Joy was on one of them."
The pope thanked "all the people and organizations who, even at the cost of their safety, help the victims of today's slavery."