(CNN) Pope Francis visited 20 former sex slaves from various countries who are living at a housing center in Rome.
The Pope met women from Romania, Albania, Nigeria, Tunisia, Ukraine and Italy on Friday. The women were trafficked from their native countries, but were later rescued and live at the center, according to Vatican Radio.
“All of the women were the victims of severe physical abuse during their ordeal and are living under protection,” it said.
The Pope’s visit to the center highlights the need to fight against human trafficking, the Holy See Press office said.
Francis has described human trafficking as “a crime against humanity.” He visited the center as part of his Fridays of Mercy that focuses on victims of suffering.
The Pope has waded into the heart of some of the world’s most marginalized communities, spreading a message of acceptance and compassion.
Since taking over the helm of the Catholic Church, he has visited refugees and migrants, the sick and the elderly, and poor communities in different countries.