Men Who Frequent Prostitutes Are Criminals - Pope Francis

Men Who Frequent Prostitutes Are Criminals - Pope Francis

Pope Francis on Monday likened prostitution to torture even as he branded exploitation of women for prostitution a "crime against humanity".

"We need to rediscover in the Lord the strength to get up after failure, to move forward, to strengthen hope for the future", the pope said on 19th March, opening a weeklong meeting in preparation for October's Synod of Bishops. "Let's not confuse terms", Francis stressed.

Blessing Okoedion, who was forced into the business of prostitution but later escaped, queried the Pope on how the church could allow Catholic men to buy sex from many Nigerian women in Italy like her.

The Catholic Church head made the statement during a heart to heart four-hour listening session with 300 young people invited by the Vatican to Rome to inform church leaders about what the Catholic Church is all about.

"I ask myself, and I ask you: Is the male chauvinistic church able to truthfully ask itself about this high demand by clients?". "I think of the disgust these girls must feel when men make them do these things", he added.

Okoedion was forced into prostitution but managed to escape and attended the session created to help Catholic leaders understand how young people view the Church.

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Francis agreed it was likely that 90 percent of Italian men who seek prostitutes are Catholics and said he would like to "ask forgiveness" from exploited women and society in general for "this criminal act".

Prostitutes, majority victims of human trafficking from Nigeria, other African countries and Eastern Europe, are found at night on the streets of Rome's periphery and around parks.

The root cause of this behavior, according to Francis, is a "sick mentality" dictating that "women can be exploited", that the feminist movement has yet to eradicate from the collective conscience.

The objective of the session was to help church leaders learn about young people's attitudes towards the Catholic Church.

"This is one of the battles that I ask you young people to do, for the dignity of women", he said.

Francis rejected the idea that going to prostitutes could be considered harmless.

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