Women bear brunt of exploitation: Vatican

The Holy See's permanent observer, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, told the United Nations last week that women "bear the brunt of the world's child prostitution, sexual exploitation, abuse, domestic violence, child labour and human trafficking".

Vatican Information Service reports that Archbishop Migliore was speaking at the 51st session of the Commission on the Status of Women which is considering the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women.

"Every day," the Archbishop pointed out in his English-language talk, "violations of the rights of women, adolescents, and young girls are committed and even tolerated in many fields."

He says women "bear the brunt" of violence, abuse and exploitation.

"The mistreatment of women is a longstanding reality in many places and a disregard for the age and vulnerability of young girls in particular is especially repugnant."

The Archbishop says that abuse of women "appears to be due to the inferior status" bestowed upon them in certain cultures.

"In some local traditions they are thought of as a financial burden and are thus eliminated even before birth," he said.

In the speech, Archbishop Migliore also condemned the concept of abortion as "a tool of liberation" and attacked the practice of "mail order brides".

Abortion, he said, "is ironically employed by women against women".

"Even those allowed to live are sometimes considered as if they were a piece of property best disposed of as soon as possible," Archbishop Migliore said.

"Even the institution of marriage is sometimes misused to give a safe facade to sexual exploitation and slave labour by means of what are known as 'mail order brides' and 'temporary brides'."

To end trafficking in women and girls, it is necessary to tackle "the market that exists due to the demand which makes such trade possible and profitable".

"Organisations with a proven track record already exist and could assist communities in this way. Local and national politicians also need to be brought to account for their policies in this regard.

"The promotion of women will be achieved not only by the legitimate vindication of women's rights. With that, there must also be established a fresh appreciation of authentically feminine values in the heart of our societies," Archbishop Migliore concluded.

International Women's Day will be celebrated around the world this Thursday.

Vindication of rights and appreciation of feminine values (Vatican Information Service, 5/3/07)
Holy See's Statement on Status of Women (Zenit, 5/3/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Holy See Mission
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

Women overlooked in workplaces: Vatican envoy (CathNews, 12/2/07)

6 Mar 2007