Pope Francis on Thursday, urged a crowd of tens of thousands of worshipers at a Bangkok stadium, Thailand, to show respect for prostitutes and trafficked victims in parts of the world where sex work is common.
Pope made his first trip to the Buddist-majority country, where he is preaching religious harmony and peace.
The 82-year-old addressed an estimated 60,000 people, who gathered for the mass.
The pontiff focused his message on helping vulnerable children and women, “who are victims of prostitution and human trafficking, humiliated in their essential human dignity”.
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He also referred to drug addicts, migrants and “exploited sinners and bypassed beggars”.
“All of them are part of our family. They are our mothers, our brothers and sisters. Let us not deprive our communities of seeing their faces, their wounds, their smiles and their lives,” the Pope said after leading prayers.
Thailand is known for thriving sex trade and human trafficking, despite prostitution being illegal in the country, which has at least 300, 000 sex workers. According to official estimates, four percent of the sex workers are trafficked.
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It is said that many women engage in prostitution in the country, because they can earn as much as 10 times more than the country’s minimum wage; a thing for which the government has been criticised for corruption.
The Pope also praised Thailand’s efforts to fight the “scourge” of exploitation and enslavement of women and children, urging a “dignified” future for vulnerable youth.
He will next travel to Japan, where he will visit the twin atomic bombs sites of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, where he is expected to call for a ban on nuclear weapon in the world.