VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope John Paul II last month strongly condemned what he
called the "degrading phenomenon of sexual tourism" which exploits children
"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
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.