Stop human traffickers, Pope Francis says after Italy's migrant shipwreck

Pope Francis on Sunday called on authorities to stop human traffickers operating in the Mediterranean, as he expressed his sorrow over last week's migrant boat disaster off Italy's Calabrian coast. "The word disgrace comes to mind," Francis said of the incident in which an estimated 700 people dro

Stop human traffickers, Pope Francis says after Italy's migrant shipwreck

"I renew my appeal to prevent such tragedies from happening again. May traffickers of human beings be stopped," the pope said in his weekly address to crowds in St. Peter's Square.

Local authorities said 70 bodies had so far been recovered following the incident. The migrants had departed from Turkey and were from countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Somalia and Syria.

The pope said, "May the journeys of hope never turn into the journeys to death again, may the clear waters in the Mediterranean not be bloodied by such dramatic incidents."

Around 80 people survived after the boat broke up and sank in rough seas near Steccato di Cutro, a resort on the Calabria region's eastern coast. Authorities estimated it had carried up to 200 migrants.

Three alleged traffickers were arrested this week and prosecutors began looking into the way emergency services responded to the disaster, after accusations that authorities were slow to react.

"I pray for the many victims of the shipwreck, for their families and for those who survived," the pope said.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Bernadette Baum)