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Pope Says Stop Sex Tours

Pope Says Stop Sex Tours

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope John Paul II last month strongly condemned what he

called the "degrading phenomenon of sexual tourism" which exploits children

in Asia.

"Young girls and boys are lured into this industry and are then treated as mere

objects," he told members of the World Tourism Organization.

He said hundreds of thousands of children must be assured the protections from abuse

that international agreements, as well as "human conscience," ought to

guarantee.

The pontiff's words echoed those of a number of Asian bishops who have recently been

speaking out on the subject.

Sex tours to Thailand, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and the Philippines have become big business.

Social activists say child prostitution in Asia has increased greatly in recent years

partly because tourists are seeking AIDS-free prostitutes.

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