VATICAN CITY, JUL 12, 2005 (VIS) - Made public yesterday evening was the final document of the First International Meeting of Pastoral Care for the Liberation of Women of the Street. The meeting, held in Rome from June 20 to 21, was promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.
Prostitution is "a form of modern day slavery," says the text of the document. In fact, "sexual exploitation, prostitution and trafficking of human beings are all acts of violence against women." As such they "constitute an offence to the dignity of women and are a grave violation of basic human rights."
"The Church has a pastoral responsibility," the document continues, "to promote the human dignity of persons exploited through prostitution and to advocate for their liberation and economic, educational and formative support. The Church must take up the defense of the legitimate rights of women," and "denounce the injustices and violence perpetrated against women wherever and in whatever circumstances this may occur."
The final document points out the need "to collaborate with the mass media to ensure correct communication about this problem." Moreover, "the Church must demand the enforcement of laws protecting women against the scourge of prostitution and trafficking. It is also important to advocate for effective measures against the demeaning portrayal of women in advertising."
One of the closing recommendations is that "networks be strengthened among all groups involved in the provision of pastoral care, e.g., volunteers, associations, religious congregations, NGOs and ecumenical and inter-religious groups."
Finally, the document underlines the importance of using "appropriate language and terminology when referring to the phenomena of sexual exploitation and prostitution. Society has a responsibility to provide alternative resources ... for persons seeking to 'leave the street'."
CON-SM/STREET WOMEN/... VIS 20050712 (310)