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Vatican observer warns against "lawless" sex tourism

Archbishop Pietro Monni is worried about the sex tourism "legal vacuum", and has called for an appreciation of the efforts by religious institutions to combat pedophilia.

Monni, who is the Vatican's permanent observer at the World Tourism Organisation, highlighted the legal deficiency when addressing the European Conference for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation. The two-day conference took place last week in Rome.

The Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela and Kenya were the countries the archbishop mentioned as the principal objects of sexual tourism.

This "new form of slavery" is the result of an "apathetic policy, the economic greed of local privileged classes, the poverty of certain countries, and the struggle for survival of some sectors of the population," he stressed.

Monni went on to blame both "the lack of appropriate laws" and "police complicity" for the upsurge.

He spoke of the role of the Church in promoting healthy and responsible tourism, and of efforts of various religious institutions to combat the exploitation of children.

"I have personally accompanied nuns who went out late at night in a jeep on the streets of Bangkok to collect the children being displayed in private premises and centres," he said.


World Tourism Organisation

8 Apr 2003