Pope Francis condemns prostitution as the torture of defenceless women

Pope Francis has labelled prostitution a ‘disgusting vice’ that reduces vulnerable women to tortured slaves who are at the mercy of their clients.

According to The Catholic Register, the Pope wrote of his loathing of prostitution in the prologue of a new book, titled Crucified Women. The book was written by Father Aldo Buonaiuto, a priest who works for the John XXIII Community, an international association that helps marginalized people.

"Any form of prostitution is a reduction to slavery, a criminal act, a disgusting vice that confuses making love with venting out one's instincts by torturing a defenseless woman," Pope Francis said. "It is a sickness of humanity, a false way of thinking in society."

L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, published the book's prologue on July 29 on the eve of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

In 2016 during the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Pope visited a house run by the John XXIII Community in northeast Rome that helped young women rebuild their lives after being rescued from prostitution.

According to The Catholic Register, on August 12, 2016 the Pope met with 20 women liberated from the slavery of the prostitution racket. Six of them came from Romania, four from Albania, seven from Nigeria and one each from Tunisia, Italy and Ukraine.

Pope Francis then asked the women for forgiveness on behalf of all the men, especially Christians, who had used and abused them.

In the prologue to Crucified Women, the Pope recalled his visit to the community of rescued women and said that while he spoke with them, he "breathed in all the pain, the injustice and the effects of oppression".

"After listening to the touching and very human stories of these poor women, some of them carrying a child in their arms, I felt a strong desire, almost the need, to ask them for forgiveness for the real tortures they had to endure because of their clients, many of whom call themselves Christians," the Pope wrote.

Praising the work of the John XXIII Community, Pope Francis said he hoped the book would bring greater awareness to the plight of women forced into prostitution.

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