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Youth crusader warns on child sex trafficking

Young people who lose their souls in the child trafficking trade are victims of sexual abuse and the adults who abuse them in this way should be treated accordingly, says Youth Off the Streets founder Fr Chris Riley.

"All too often the young people caught up in this type of activity are treated as criminals," he told the Catholic Weekly. "As a society we need to treat them with empathy and understanding."

Fr Riley, an advocate for children's rights for more than 20 years, says he "witnessed the astronomical levels of violence and exploitation experienced by children" in recent travels overseas.

"Children as young as 10 are literally forced into sexual slavery and routinely abused by men from wealthy western countries, including Australia," he told the fourth annual Youth Off The Streets conference.

Participants included Nobel Peace Prize nominee Fr Shay Cullen, well known for his campaign to save children from commercial sexual exploitation in the Philippines.

Fr Cullen said: "Australians must remember that these perpetrators don't leave their sexual appetites at the airport once they return home to Australia.

"Their appetites have been whetted and this makes Australian children more vulnerable."

Youth crusader warns on child sex trafficking (Catholic Weekly 21/11/04)

Joint effort to fight trafficking of women and children (CathNews 17/11/04)
Youth Off The Streets
There's no such thing as a bad kid (CathNews 21/2/03)
Saving street kids: Fr Chris honoured (Catholic Weekly 15/12/02)
Fr Chris Riley's youth back on the streets (CathNews 6/2/04)
Columban confirms Australians' key role in Philippines under-age sex trade (CathNews 15/9/03)
Vatican observer warns against "lawless" sex tourism (8/4/03)

19 Nov 2004