1 Million Children Worldwide Are Sexually Exploited

Vatican Permanent Observer Addresses World Tourism Organization

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BERLIN, MARCH 18, 2002 (Zenit.org).- One million children worldwide are sexually exploited every year, the Vatican´s permanent observer at the World Tourism Organization says.

Monsignor Piero Monni addressed the 10th Meeting of the Task Force for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Tourism, held in Berlin on Saturday.

“Every year on our vulnerable planet, a million children are exploited sexually and for pornography,” Monsignor Monni began. “They are traded or sold just like slaves. All this because of the growing request by tireless predators of innocent children. These people are pedophiles, evermore present in the vast world of sexual tourism.”

According to Monsignor Monni, the “data gathered on the diffusion of this phenomena shows that it is in constant increase. The estimates are more and more upsetting, and the episodes of violence” are ever more frightening.

The Vatican speaker said that the “veil of silence that has lasted for centuries has finally been ripped open. Skin curling episodes of pedophilia and sexual tourism have finally come to light and have been shown by the mass media. This has shaken public opinion and underlined the seriousness of this problem.”

He added that “the symbiosis that connects pedophilia and organized crime has taken control over this market, and takes advantage of families and the innocence of children.”

These criminal organizations, he added, “have created a network of illegal businesses of every kind: from accumulating laundered money to using banks and financial companies to recycle it. With the earnings that come in from this market, they have been able to enter into the business world and the stock markets. They are spreading corruption, which seems to threaten the efficiency and credibility of the financial institutions themselves.”

Monsignor Monni referred to a book he has just published in Italian entitled, “The Archipelago of Shame: Sexual Tourism and Pedophilia,” which will soon be published in English and Spanish.

The work, he said, aims “to [trace] a historical, social and juridical panorama of the reality of pedophilia, which has endured thousands of years. It ranges from abnormality to repeated abuses in history; from incest to the analysis of deviancy, from pornography to Internet and the present laws.”

Monsignor Monni explained that the “objective proposed does not intend and does not want to prejudicially demonize those who are guilty of these crimes. Instead it underlines the urgency to find genuine civilized values with the desired prevention of pedophilia based on a precise ethical and scientific direction.”

“The aforementioned book presents the psychological, psychiatric and forensic aspects dealing with the sphere of pedophile relationships,” he said. “The moral and religious problems related to this are also extensively treated, along with the complexities of intention and chance.”

The Vatican representative hoped that from this meeting in Berlin, and from the many to come, as well as from the “diligence shown by this Task Force of the World Tourism Organization, governments will adopt adequate measures to help these victims.”

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