When U.S. President Donald Trump stops in Rome for a meeting with Pope Francis Wednesday, both his wife Melania and daughter Ivanka will have their own schedules, which include stops at a Vatican hospital and a round-table on human trafficking.
Ivanka serves in her father’s administration in an unpaid position as an assistant to the president.
Pope Francis and Donald Trump will meet at the Vatican May 24 at 8:30 a.m., before the Pope’s General Audience. Melania and Ivanka will both be present for the public portion of the visit, but will each follow their own itinerary after.
Once the meeting is finished, the First Lady will a visit the Vatican-owned pediatric hospital Bambino Gesu. During her tour of the facility, Melania is expected to greet patients and visit one of their playrooms as well as the chapel.
While Melania visits Bambino Gesu, Ivanka, a high-profile adviser to her father, will make her way to the Roman neighborhood of Trastevere to meet with the Community of Sant’Egidio to discuss efforts to oppose human trafficking.
The Sant’Egidio Community is often praised by Pope Francis for their work, in particular for the projects they lead aimed at helping the poor and refugees.
During her meeting with Sant’Egidio, Ivanka is expected to meet with several women who are victims of trafficking, and discuss various ways in which the Church and the U.S. government can collaborate on the problem.
Before leaving with her father on his first international tour, Ivanka hosted an anti-human trafficking round-table at the White House May 17 that hosted a swath of bipartisan lawmakers and representatives of numerous organizations that deal with human trafficking.
According to reports, during the discussion Ivanka spoke about the Trump administration’s efforts to combat trafficking not only in the U.S., but throughout the world, telling attendees that “combatting human trafficking and modern slavery is both a moral and strategic interest domestically and abroad.”
That particular round-table was a follow-up to a February discussion on the same topic, which was also organized by Ivanka. At the time, according to reports, President Trump said he would use the “full force and weight” of the U.S. government to fight human trafficking.
Both stops highlight key priorities for Pope Francis, who after his election in 2013 personally requested that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences study the issue of human trafficking. As a result, the institution has held at least two symposiums or conferences on the topic each year.
Francis has also mentioned several times that he is bothered by the suffering of children, saying it is one of life’s mysteries that he still fails to comprehend.
By Elise Harris