Governor John Bel Edwards will be in Rome, Italy for the next few days to discuss ways to fight human trafficking with the Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy. Edwards says the Houston to New Orleans corridor has one of the worst trafficking problems in the country and we must put an end to this. He says the sisters plan to open the Metanoia House, a Louisiana shelter for young victims of sex trade.

“We’re going to partner with the Hosptialer Sisters of Mercy so that they can administer a home that will take care of teenage female victims of human trafficking.”

State Police Superintendent Mike Edmonson and a few state legislators are traveling with the governor. Louisiana has been recognized as the leading state in the fight against sex trafficking. Edwards says Rome is leading the way putting an end to human trafficking and they hope to learn new ways to assist victims.

“Treating the individuals caught up in it, not so much as criminals, which is what’s been happening in the past but as true victims. And making sure that we can get them out of that lifestyle.”

Edwards is also planning on meeting with Pope Francis next Wednesday. The governor says he will be paying out of pocket for himself and his wife to travel to Rome.

“I’m playing for myself and my wife, taxpayers won’t be paying for that. I would think that the taxpayers are paying for the State Police that are going.”