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Friday, June 17, 2005


VATICAN CITY, JUN 17, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences:

 - Ivan Gasparovic, president of the Slovak Republic, accompanied by his wife and an entourage.

 - Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

- Three prelates from the Episcopal Conference of Madagascar on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Fulgence Rabemahafaly of Fianarantsoa.

    - Bishop Charles-Remy Rakotonirina S.J., of Farafangana.

    - Bishop Jose Alfredo Caires de Nobrega S.C.I., of Mananjary.

  This evening he is scheduled to receive in audience Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

  Yesterday, Thursday June 16, he received in audience Bishop Renato Boccardo, secretary general of the Governorate of Vatican City State.
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VATICAN CITY, JUN 17, 2005 (VIS) - The first international meeting on the pastoral ministry for the liberation of street women, promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, will be held at the council's San Calisto offices in Rome on June 20 and 21, according to a communique published today.

  An estimated 50 participants representing episcopal conferences, religious congregations and associations and institutions from 24 countries are expected to attend. While predominantly from Europe, participants will also represent Latin America, Africa and Asia.

  "The aim of this meeting," says the communique, "is to urge cooperation, and a certain coordination, among groups already committed on the front line to pastorally helping women living in difficult situations. The aspects of the problem range from prostitution to exploitation, to trafficking in women, to sex tourism. At the basis of this 'phenomenon' are migration, family and social shortcomings, economic problems and the dominance of sex in modern life.

  "Considering trafficking in human lives, the phenomenon involves a million people every year from developing countries, with women and children at greatest risk. In Thailand alone, it is estimated that there are between 150,000 and 200,000 street women, of whom 35,000 are under age 18. In Italy there are an estimated 40,000 street women, of whom 4,000 are minors and many are non-European. The International Migration Organization calculates that about half a million women, coming from Eastern Europe, have become enslaved and obliged to become prostitutes in Western Europe."

  Council President Cardinal Stephen Fumio Hamao will speak on the theme of the meeting and Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, council secretary, will present the program and will address several of the topics under discussion.
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