September 1, 1996 in Nation/World

Queen Assails Child Porn, Prostitution Cardinal Blames Western Tolerance

Associated Press
 

Sweden’s Queen Silvia concluded the first global conference against child prostitution and pornography Saturday with an appeal to stop “this modern form of slavery.”

The five-day congress, which mapped out strategies to combat crimes against children, had taken on added urgency because of a widening child sex scandal in Belgium that has left at least two girls dead.

A Vatican official said stricter laws against the sexual exploitation of children, however, will do little without the help of clergymen.

“It’s not enough to consider this hideous social and personal problem only in the view of the law,” said the head of the Pontifical Council for the Family. “There must be a strong pastoral force in each nation and church to seriously raise the rights of the family in defense of children.”

The appeal by Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, which drew together past Vatican and papal comments on sexual abuse of minors, contended Western secular values and tolerance have weakened family bonds and reduced the “sense of sin and responsibility” regarding sexual issues.

Silvia, who in July urged politicians in her own country to tighten laws against child pornography, told the conference’s closing session that “all sectors of society” should work for an end to commercial sexual exploitation of children.

“We owe this to the children that have been abused, tortured and even killed by sex offenders and to the children who are at risk of becoming victims,” the German-born queen told delegates from more than 120 countries in a Stockholm conference hall.

“This modern form of slavery has to be stopped.”

The World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children adopted an ambitious agenda that includes a demand for strong criminal penalties against those who sexually abuse children for money.

The conference was organized by the Swedish government with the help of UNICEF and other organizations.

Despite the lofty goals, there is some question about what the non-binding demands can do against the child sex business, which was described as a multibillion-dollar industry that traps more 1 million children a year.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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