09/17/2015, 00.00
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Pope says society should be ashamed of phenomenon of children and women forced to live on streets

"No child chooses to live on the streets" and "no one can stand by in the face of the urgent need to protect the dignity of women." People often exploited by criminal organizations, and the result of "widespread corruption and pursuit of profit at all costs." They are actually "caused by indifference, poverty, family and social violence, and the trafficking of human persons."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Society should be ashamed of phenomenon of children and women "whose primary living environment is the streets", people often exploited by criminal organizations, and the result of "widespread corruption and the search for profit at all costs".

Moreover, faced with this reality, the Church “cannot remain silent", because "no child chooses to live in the street" and " no one can stand by in the face of the urgent need to protect the dignity of women”, denounced Pope Francis this morning  as he received the participants of the International Symposium on the Pastoral Care of the Street, promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

"The often sad realities which you encounter - he told them - are the result of indifference, poverty, family and social violence, and human trafficking. They involve the pain of marital separations and the birth of children out of wedlock, frequently doomed to a life of “vagrancy”. Street children and street women are not numbers, or “packets” to be traded; they are human beings, each with his or her own name and face, each with a God-given identity".

“No child chooses to live on the streets. Sadly, even in our modern, globalized world, any number of children continue to be robbed of their childhood, their rights and their future. Lack of legal protection and adequate structures only aggravates their state of deprivation: they have no real family or access to education or health care. Every child abandoned or forced to live on the streets, at the mercy of criminal organizations, is a cry rising up to God, who created man and woman in his own image. It is an indictment of a social system which we have criticized for decades, but which we find hard to change in conformity with criteria of justice".

" It is troubling to see the increasing number of young girls and women forced to earn a living on the street by selling their own bodies, victims of exploitation by criminal organizations and at times by parents and family members. This is a shameful reality in our societies, which boast of being modern and possessed of high levels of culture and development. Widespread corruption and unrestrained greed are robbing the innocent and the vulnerable of the possibility of a dignified life, abetting the crime of trafficking and other injustices which they have to endure. No one can remain unmoved before the pressing need to safeguard the dignity of women, threatened by cultural and economic factors!".

"The Church - he continued - The Church cannot remain silent, nor can her institutions turn a blind eye to the baneful reality of street children and street women. The Christian community in the various countries needs to be involved at all levels in working to eliminate everything which forces a child or a woman to live on the street or to earn a livelihood on the street. We can never refrain from bringing to all, and especially to the most vulnerable and underprivileged, the goodness and the tenderness of God our merciful Father. Mercy is the supreme act by which God comes to meet us; it is the way which opens our hearts to the hope of an everlasting love".

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