Address on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Tourism

Monsignor Monni Addresses Meeting in Berlin

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BERLIN, MARCH 18, 2002 ( Following is the March 16 address of the Vatican permanent observer, Monsignor Piero Monni, to the 10th Meeting of the World Tourism Organization´s Task Force for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Tourism, held in Berlin.

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Every year on our vulnerable planet, a million children are exploited sexually and for pornography. 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.

The data gathered on the spread 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 scary.

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.

Today 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 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.

In the book, «The Archipelago of Shame: Sexual Tourism and Pedophilia» (published by Edizioni Universitarie Romane — EUR), I wanted to trace a historical, social and juridical panorama of the reality of pedophilia, which has endured for 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.

The objective proposed does not intend and does not wish 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.

In the aforementioned book, the psychological, psychiatric and forensic aspects dealing with the sphere of «pedophile relationships» are presented. The moral and religious problems connected to this are also extensively treated, along with the complexities of intention and chance.

Although the book is rooted in the history of this phenomena, it is also important to mention the more modern aspects of the problem. In the chapters dealing with Pornography and Internet, Internet and Blue Candles, and Sexual Tourism, I tried to demonstrate the wealth of information gathered through the years of experience accumulated as the Permanent Observer for the Holy See to the World Tourism Organization.

The book was given a scientific format. It is organized using a strict method that extends, as already mentioned, from the Origin of the phenomena to consideration of the Fact, described in its more concrete manifestation.

The last part of the book is dedicated to a scrupulous description of the large Diffusion of sexual tourism and pedophilia. It includes a careful analysis of all the possible Remedies which could be adopted to combat this true social plague, such as codifying specific norms, diffusing information dealing with scientific information resulting from conventions, and mobilizing international organizations.

The book has been published in Italian, but will soon be available in English. A Spanish translation is also envisioned.

It is hoped that, from this meeting in Berlin and from the many to come, as well as from the commendable and constant diligence of this Task Force of the World Tourism Organization, Governments will adopt adequate measures to help these victims, for whom the World Tourism Organization has struggled in these last years.

Thank you for your attention!

[Original text: English]

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