Holy See Concerned About New Cases of Sexual Tourism

4 Italians Linked to Network Involving Minors in Brazil

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Holy See sources expressed concern following news about «sexual tourism» and abuse of minors by Europeans in Brazil.

Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers, spoke out against this type of tourist industry that «takes advantage of the pockets of poverty that exist in every continent.»

Italian police have arrested four Italians for organizing tourist trips whose aim was to sexually take advantage of underage girls in Fortaleza.

«One must be committed so that the well-being of a few privileged individuals will not take place to the detriment of the quality of life of many others,» the prelate said today on Vatican Radio.

At the same time, Archbishop Marchetto pointed out the need «to take care of the victims with compassion and love, offer them legal assistance, therapy, and reinsertion in society and, if they are Christians, in the community of faithful.»

«The Church can do much so that the ethic of intentions … is transformed in a morality of responsibilities, in which each one — from tourist agents, to hoteliers, to those who offer services, to each one of the tourists — will feel committed to combat every form of abuse,» the Italian prelate said.

«The Church,» he added, «through its messages, documents, urgent appeals, and work of prevention and assistance to those who have suffered sexual violence, indicates the way that must be followed so that tourism will become rather a privileged instrument of integral, individual and collective development, and not an opportunity to violate the human dignity and rights of children.»

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