Vatican says fight sex work by stemming demand

Combating the problem of the trafficking of women and girls for prostitution also requires stemming the demand for prostitutes, said participants of a Vatican-sponsored conference.

The Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers hosted its first international meeting June 20-21 on "The Pastoral Care for the Liberation of Street Women." According to the Catholic News Service, fifty women and men who are active in offering care and assistance to prostitutes attended the conference to offer their reflections and ideas.

"Everyone says being a woman on the street is bad, but when I see six cars all lined up for a 14-year-old girl, why don't we hear that it's the man on the street that is worse?" said Italian Consolata Sister Eugenia Bonetti, head of anti-trafficking initiatives for the Italian Union of Major Superiors.

"We need to change the mentality of young people to make them understand that nobody can buy the dignity of a human person, not even with all the money in the world," she told CNS.

The council's president, Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao (pictured), called the buying and selling of women an "unscrupulous trade."

He said the church "feels strongly called upon to take up the defense of the rights and the image of women through a correct understanding of their role in society and a greater appreciation of the female dimension in every human activity."

Good Shepherd Sister Michelle Lopez, founder and director of the Fountain of Life Center for women prostitutes and their children in southern Thailand, said the center also tries to help men who frequent prostitutes. "We try to help (the men) see that they are dehumanizing and degrading themselves" by purchasing sex, she told CNS.

Fight sex work by stemming demand, say speakers at Vatican conference (Catholic News Service 21/6/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
The Vatican | Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

Vatican Calls for Pastoral Reflection on "Women of the Street" (CathNews 17/6/05)
Vatican meeting for circus workers (CathNews 14/12/04)
Vatican officials say migration brings opportunities for Catholics (CathNews 21/11/03)

Vatican health-care officials named (Catholic World News 21/6/05)

22 Jun 2005