This, he said, is because it touches our consciences: "A country that does or allows trafficking doesn't like that this comes to light, because it would embarrass them a lot, so they cover it."
Hypocrisy from those who condemn human trafficking while at the same time taking advantage of trafficked laborers or sex slaves presents a major obstacle to the abolition of trafficking, he said.
Speaking out against this can be an easier task for youth, the Pope said, because "they are less structured in their thought, less obscured by prejudices, more free to reason with their own mind. Youth don't have anything to lose."
He called trafficking a "crime against humanity" and a form of slavery which is "unfortunately increasingly widespread, which involves every country, even the most developed, and touches the most vulnerable people in society: women and young girls, children, the disabled, the most poor, whoever comes from situations of familial or social disintegration."
"We need a common responsibility and a stronger political will to succeed on this front," he said.
Pope Francis also highlighted education as a concrete means of helping other young people avoid the snares and illusions of traffickers. He pointed to the example of St. John Bosco, who established schools and a center for prayer and education to welcome boys living on the street.
"Education is the name of peace. Education is also the name of development...never children without an education. This is the first step," the Pope said.
He also discussed the conditions that can pave the way for trafficking, such as extreme poverty and unemployment, violence, and corruption in government.
For those who have been victims of trafficking, the Church can offer guidance in the healing and rebuilding process, Pope Francis said, explaining that the Church "has always wanted to be at the side of people who suffer, in particular children and youth, protecting them and promoting their integral human development."
This is especially true for minors "who are often 'invisible', subject to danger and threats, alone and manipulable," he said. "We want, also in the most precarious realities, to be your grain of hope and support, because God is always with you."
Pope Francis also voiced hope that those who have witnessed the dangers of trafficking would find at the upcoming Synod of Bishops "a place to express themselves, from which to call the Church into action."
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The Synod, which will be held this October in Rome, will discuss young people, the faith, and vocational discernment. The Synod is primarily a gathering of bishops, but about a dozen young people will also participate.
However, some 350 young people will participate in a pre-synod meeting at the Vatican next month. Pope Francis encouraged those present at the trafficking Q-and-A to contact organizers and ask to participate in that event.