.- In a new document released yesterday the Vatican called prostitution a “form of modern day slavery” and an act of violence against women, saying that it gravely violates basic human rights. The text was the final document of the First International Meeting of Pastoral Care for the Liberation of Women of the Street, which was held in Rome from June 20th to 21st and sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.
The new document states that "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."
It continues, saying, "The Church has a pastoral responsibility 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."
Members of last month’s meeting stressed the need "to collaborate with the mass media to ensure correct communication about this problem." Moreover, they said, "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."
The document recommends in its closing 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."
It also highlights the need for "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'."