New Attitudes Proposed to Halt Prostitution

Final Statement After Conference at Vatican

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 14, 2005 ( Prostitution is a growing phenomenon which enslaves the women victims as well as their clients, state the conclusions of a Vatican-organized conference.

To put an end to this “modern slavery,” clients must be helped to resolve their emotional problems, which drive them to the sex market, and they must face the rigors of the law, explains the final statement.

This week, the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travelers published the Final (Document of the first International Meeting of Pastoral Care for the Liberation of Women of the Street, held in Rome on June 20-21, at the initiative of the council.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the pontifical council, as well as by bishops, priests, religious, lay experts, and representatives of bishops’ conferences worldwide and ecclesial movements.

The document begins by stating that “It is important to recognize that sexual exploitation, prostitution and trafficking of human beings are all acts of violence against women and as such constitute an offense to the dignity of women and are a grave violation of basic human rights.”

$10 billion “industry”

The International Labor Organization estimates that there are 12.3 million people enslaved in enforced and bonded labor and that about 2.4 million of these are victims of the $10 billion-a-year trafficking “industry.”

The Vatican text states that men who are “clients” of prostitution have “deep-seated problems” because they too are “enslaved.”

“A large number are over 40 years of age, but there is an increasing number of younger men, between 16-24, involved,” it said.

“It is clear from research that men increasingly seek out prostitutes for reasons of domination rather than for sexual gratification,” the document continued. “In social and personal relationships they experience a loss of power and of masculinity and are unable to develop relationships of mutuality and respect.

“They seek out prostitutes because it gives them an experience of total domination and control of a woman for a specific period of time.

“The ‘client’ needs more than social condemnation and having to face the full rigors of the law. He must also be helped to face his deeper problems and to find other ways of dealing with his personal needs. Buying sex from a prostitute does not solve problems that arise from loneliness, frustration or a lack of true relationships.”

Holistic formation

For this reason, the text states: “In a society where money and wealth are dominant values, appropriate relationships and sexuality education are necessary for the holistic formation of different groups of people.

“This type of education can explore the true nature of interpersonal relationships based not on egoistic interest or exploitation but on the dignity of a human person, who should be respected and appreciated as a God given gift. In this context, believers have to remember that sin is also an offense to God, to be avoided with all one’s strength, with the grace of God.”

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