Pope Francis has called clergymen, police officers from 20 countries and victims of modern-day slavery to a conference to try to tackle human trafficking.
In a statement, the Vatican referred to last week’s talks between Pope Francis and US President Barack Obama in which they agreed to tackle trafficking with the conference as a "practical step in fulfilling this aim”.
The Pope has referred to human trafficking as a “scourge” of the 21st century. The conference is being hosted by the Vatican’s Academy of Sciences on April 9 and 10, the Vatican Radio said.
The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales is promoting the conference while London’s Metropolitan police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe and England’s top Catholic clergyman Cardinal Vincent Nichols are taking part.
The conference aims to bring police chiefs together so they can build an effective network to combat trafficking and work collaboratively with the Church.
Also attending are police chiefs from the Africa, Asia, Americas and Europe, as well as countries where human trafficking has been a particular problem like Albania, Brazil, Nigeria and Thailand.
Trafficking generates $32 billion (23 billion euros) a year in revenue and involves 2.4 million people, according to estimates by the International Labour Organization.