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Pope Francis: Human trafficking is a Modern Form of Slavery and a True Crime Against Humanity

Pope Francis said, Powerful economic interests and criminal networks were behind human trafficking

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Pope Francis. Flickr
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November 8, 2016: Pope Francis on Monday decried people trafficking, calling it a “modern form of slavery”, a “true crime against humanity” and a “scourge which especially affects women and children”.

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“One of the most troubling of those open wounds (in the world) is the trade in human beings, a modern form of slavery,” Francis told a conference in Rome on human trafficking.

“It violates the God-given dignity of so many of our brothers and sisters and constitutes a true crime against humanity,” the pontiff said.

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Powerful economic interests and criminal networks were behind human trafficking, “a scourge which especially affects women and children”, he said.

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“Indifference and even complicity, a tendency on the party of many to look the other way” must be fought by raising public awareness of human trafficking, better coordination by governments, judiciaries and security forces, he said. (IANS)

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Goodbye Holy Smoke, Vatican City bans Sale of Cigarettes

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking.

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sale of cigarettes
The faithful gather in front of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. VOA

Vatican City, November 10, 2017 : Pope Francis has ordered a ban on the sale of cigarettes inside the Vatican from next year because of health concerns, a spokesman said on Thursday.

“The motive is very simple: the Holy See cannot be cooperating with a practice that is clearly harming the health of people,” spokesman Greg Burke said in a statement.

He cited World World Health Organization (WHO) statistics that smoking causes more than seven million deaths worldwide every year.

Cigarettes have been sold at a discounted price to Vatican employees and pensioners.

Vatican employees are allowed to buy five cartons of cigarettes a month. Many Italians ask their non-smoking friends who work in the Vatican to buy cigarettes for them because they cost much less than in Italy, where they are subject to heavy taxes.

Burke acknowledged that the sale of cigarettes has been a source of revenue for the Holy See, adding, “However, no profit can be legitimate if it is costing people their lives.”

The spokesman said the sale of large cigars would continue at least for the time being because the smoke is not inhaled.

The Vatican, a tiny walled city-state surrounded by Rome, is one of the few states to ban smoking. Bhutan, where smoking is deemed bad for one’s karma, banned the sale of tobacco in 2005. (VOA)

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