Vatican releases online guidelines to help Church fight human trafficking
The Vatican has created new online guidelines to help the Church combat the "ugly business" of human trafficking.
The handbook - named "Pastoral Orientations on Human Trafficking" is split into ten sections that analyses the $150bn a year industry.
The online guide includes a search engine to help people study the pope's teachings on the subject further.
It states: "Pope Francis' insistent teaching on human trafficking provides the foundation for the present pastoral orientations which draw also from the longstanding practical experience of many international Catholic NGOs working in the field and from the observations of representatives of bishops' conferences.
"While approved by the Holy Father, the orientations do not pretend to exhaust the church's teaching on human trafficking; rather, they provide a series of key considerations that may be useful to Catholics and others in their pastoral ministry, in planning and practical engagement, in advocacy and dialogue."
The Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development released the guideline on Thursday at a Vatican news conference.
They highlighted the need to target consumers who drive the demand for human trafficking.
"People who generate the demand share real responsibility for the destructive impact of their behaviour on other human persons, and for the moral values violated in the process," the guide adds.
"The buying of so-called sexual services, in all forms including pornography, internet based cyber-sex, strip clubs and erotic dancing venues, is a serious offence against human dignity and human integrity."
The nearly 500-page printed version of the guidelines compiles Pope Francis' teachings from 2013 to the end of 2017.
There is also a 40-page booklet available to be printed or shared online.
The Vatican will host a conference focused on the implementation of these guidelines in April.
Stay up to date with the latest news stories from a Christian perspective. Sign up to our daily newsletter and receive more stories like this straight to your inbox every morning.