Pope Francis has exclusively told ITV News Presenter Julie Etchingham that human trafficking is "a crime against humanity".
ITV News' Julie Etchingham reports from Rome:
Asked if he had a message for those responsible for human trafficking, the Pope said: "It's an absolute shame. It's a crime against humanity.
"It's a form slavery and as Christians, those who suffer are the body of Christ, the flesh of Christ.
"Humanity still hasn't learned how to cry, how to lament. We need many tears in order to understand the dimension of this drama."
Pope Francis spoke to ITV News while at a Combating Human Trafficking Conference hosted by the Vatican.
He told the event:
I exhort the international community to adopt an even more unanimous and effective strategy against human trafficking, so that in every part of the world, men and women may no longer be used as a means to an end, and that their inviolable dignity may always be respected.
Writing on his official Twitter account, Pope Francis wrote:
Jesus teaches us to not be ashamed of touching human misery, of touching his flesh in our brothers and sisters who suffer. (EG 270)
Those attending the conference have made a declaration of commitment to "eradicate the scourge of this serious criminal activity" and develop relationships between the Church and society to "bring to justice those responsible".
Instrumental in organising the human trafficking and slavery conference was Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.
Like Pope Francis he wants the voices of victims to be heard more clearly.
When the conference was over, ITV News' Julie Etchingham asked the Cardinal to assess the impact of the Pope's message that trafficking was a crime against humanity:
For more on this story watch ITV News at 6.30pm