Visiting Thailand, Pope condemns exploitation of girls and youngsters

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BANGKOK (Information) – Pope Francis on Thursday condemned the exploitation of girls and youngsters in Thailand, which is infamous for its intercourse tourism, calling the violence, abuse and enslavement they undergo evils that have to be uprooted.

Properly-wishers wait to greet Pope Francis throughout his go to to St. Louis church in Bangkok, Thailand, November 21, 2019. Information/Ann Wang

Francis began his first full day in Thailand by addressing politicians and diplomats gathered in Authorities Home, an ornate palace that serves because the prime minister’s workplace.

“I feel, too, of all these girls and youngsters of our time, particularly those that are wounded, violated and uncovered to each type of exploitation, enslavement, violence and abuse,” he mentioned at Authorities Home.

Thailand attracts some 35 million vacationers a 12 months and the federal government has sought to shed the nation’s status for intercourse tourism.

However repeated crackdowns haven’t rid Bangkok and different vacationer hubs of go-go bars and therapeutic massage parlours that always supply intercourse.

There are round 123,530 intercourse employees in Thailand, in response to a 2014 UNAIDS report.

Francis, expressed appreciation for the Thai authorities’s efforts “to extirpate this scourge, and for all these personal people and organizations working to uproot this evil and to supply methods to revive their (victims’) dignity”.

He additionally spoke of the plight of refugees, saying they’ve needed to endure “a tragic exodus,” and nonetheless face many risks.

Thailand is house to a few of Asia’s oldest refugee camps.

About 100,000 refugees from Myanmar have been dwelling in 9 camps alongside the border for many years, many because the early 1980s.

Extra not too long ago, Thailand has been a serious venue for human smugglers and traffickers of tens of hundreds of Muslim Rohingya who’ve fled crackdowns in Myanmar.

The variety of human trafficking victims rescued in Thailand is ready to hit a document excessive this 12 months, with demand for reasonable labour in neighbouring Malaysia inflicting a bounce within the unlawful commerce, in response to authorities knowledge.

In a gesture of inter-religious dialogue, Francis went to the gilded Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram Temple to pay his respects to the nation’s 91-year-old Supreme Buddhist Patriarch, Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong.

Thailand’s Catholics quantity just a bit greater than 380,000 in a rustic of greater than 65 million, however the small neighborhood has thrived and relations with Buddhists are usually good.

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Francis, who has come beneath criticism from ultra-conservative Catholics who accuse him of being too accommodating to different religions, praised the consequences he mentioned Buddhism has had on Thais.

“The vast majority of Thais have drunk deeply from the sources of Buddhism, which have imbued their approach of venerating life and their ancestors, and main a sober life-style based mostly on contemplation, detachment, exhausting work and self-discipline,” Francis informed the patriarch.

Afterward Thursday, Francis was because of say a Mass for the Catholic neighborhood in Bangkok’s Nationwide Stadium. He leaves for Japan on Saturday.

Writing by Philip Pullella and Kay Johnson; modifying by Simon Cameron-Moore