Sexual Exploitation the Main Form of Slavery, Says U.S.

Embassy to the Holy See Holds a Videoconference

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ROME, JULY 2, 2004 ( Sexual exploitation is the main form of slavery in the 21st century and the United States says it aims to fight it with the help of other countries.

This view emerged from a videoconference on Wednesday at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See in Rome, the Fides agency reported.

Speaking from Washington, John R. Miller, director of the U.S. State Department office to control and eliminate human trafficking, held a conference with the Rome-based American embassies to Italy and to the Holy See.

Miller talked of America’s plan aimed on the one hand at combating criminal organizations which thrive on this trade and on the other to assist victims of commercial sexual exploitation, mostly women and children.

With regard to the second point there emerged the importance of collaboration between governments and nongovernmental organizations, many of them faith-based, to help the women and children.

Italian Consolata Missionary Sister Eugenia Bonetti, responsible for initiatives undertaken by the Union of Major Religious Superiors in Italy, to stop trafficking in human beings, reported on the activity in Italy of 250 women religious working to assist victims of this trafficking.

Sister Eugenia Bonetti was mentioned in a report issued by the U.S. Department of State as one of six key figures working in various parts of the world to fight the illicit trafficking.

Monsignor Frank Dewane of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace emphasized the need to tackle the problem of poverty, on which the trafficking feeds. Specifically, he urged the cancellation of poor countries’ foreign debts.

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