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SPECIAL: Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road

6/20/2007 - 5:55 AM PST

(Page 15 of 18)

effect on women should be considered and studied at all levels of society, especially regarding their impact on family life. The practical consequences of "internalised" violence should be clearly identified, regarding both men and women.

111. Education and growth of awareness are vital in tackling injustice in relations between the sexes and creating equality between them, in a context of reciprocity, and taking account of rightful differences. Both men and women need to become aware of sexual exploitation and know their rights and relative responsibilities.

For men, in particular, initiatives should be proposed that deal with the issues of violence against women, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, paternity and the family in relation to respect and charity towards women and young girls, via reciprocal relations, and an examination that includes fair criticism of those traditional customs linked to masculinity.

Catholic Social Teaching

112. The Church should teach and spread its social doctrine, which lays down clear behavioural guidelines and encourages fighting for justice[36]. Committing oneself at various levels -- local, national and international -- for the liberation of prostitutes is therefore a true act of a disciple of Jesus Christ, an expression of authentic Christian love (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:3). It is vital to develop people's Christian and social awareness through preaching the Gospel of salvation, catechetical teaching and various formational initiatives.

Special fformation aimed at seminarians, young religious and priests is also needed so that they may have the appropriate skills and attitudes to be priests, with genuine love, of women who are prisoners of prostitution and of their "customers".

IV. Liberation and redemption

Giving aid and evangelisation

113. The Church may provide a wide variety of services to the victims of prostitution, including: housing, reference points, medical and legal assistance, advisors, vocational training, education, rehabilitation, defence and information campaigns, protection from threats, links with families, assistance with voluntary return and reintegration in their countries of origin, and help with obtaining visas when return to their country of origin turns out to be impossible.

Above and beyond these services, the encounter with Jesus Christ, the Good Samaritan and Saviour, is a decisive factor of liberation and redemption, including for the victims of prostitution (cf. Mark 16:16; Acts 2:21; 4:12; Romans 10:9; Philippians 2:11; and 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10).

114. Approaching street women and girls, in order to redeem them, is a complex and demanding undertaking, which also entails activities aimed at prevention and raising awareness of the problem in the countries of origin, transit and destination of the women who are victims of trafficking.

115. Reintegration initiatives are indispensable in the countries of origin for women returnees. Defence and information are also important, such as in a "network of links". Strengthening of all the groups involved in pastoral care in this field is needed, namely volunteers, associations an movements, religious congregations, dioceses, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), ecumenical and inter-religious groups, etc.

National conferences of men and women religious are encouraged to appoint persons in this pastoral sector to act as links for networks operating within and beyond their countries.


116. Here we would like to recall the following words of Pope John Paul II: "Let us give children a future of peace! This is the confident appeal which I make to men and women of good will, and I invite everyone to help children to grow up in an environment of authentic peace. This is their right, and it is our duty... In some countries children are forced to work at a tender age and are often badly treated, harshly punished, and paid absurdly low wages. Because they have no way of asserting their rights, they are the easiest to blackmail and exploit"[37]. In a telegram to the Director General of the International Labour Organisation the Holy See added: "No one can remain indifferent to the suffering of countless children who fall victim to intolerable exploitation and violence, not just as a result of the evil perpetrated by individuals but, often, as a direct consequence of corrupt social structures"[38].

117. The United Nations Organisation solemnly affirmed that "the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom and solidarity"[39].

Therefore, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People ...

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