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Pope Francis calls for children to be protected from sexual abuse and human traffickers as he begins three-day visit to Thailand

Pope Francis has kicked off a three-day visit to Thailand by calling for more protection against sexual abuse and human trafficking for children. The 82-year-old pontiff, on his first visit to Thailand as Pope, praised the government for taking action against the country's notorious sex trade, but said more could and should be done. 'The future of our peoples is linked in large measure to the way we will ensure a dignified future to our children,' he said in a speech at Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's Government House offices. Pope Francis began the first full day of a two-day visit to Thailand on Thursday by meeting the country's Prime Minister and its Buddhist spiritual leader Pope Francis began the first full day of a two-day visit to Thailand on Thursday by meeting the country's Prime Minister and its Buddhist spiritual leader Francis used a speech at the Prime Minister's offices to call for greater protection for children against traffickers who target the country's notorious sex trade Francis used a speech at the Prime Minister's offices to call for greater protection for children against traffickers who target the country's notorious sex trade Francis also aimed his comments at the international community, saying more needs to be done to protect women and children 'who are violated and exposed to every form of abuse' Francis also aimed his comments at the international community, saying more needs to be done to protect women and children 'who are violated and exposed to every form of abuse' Francis is undertaking his first visit to Thailand as Pope, where around 0.5 per cent of the country's 70million citizens are Catholic Francis is undertaking his first visit to Thailand as Pope, where around 0.5 per cent of the country's 70million citizens are Catholic Pope Francis (C) waves to well-wishers while riding the pope mobile as he arrives at St Louis Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand Pope Francis (C) waves to well-wishers while riding the pope mobile as he arrives at St Louis Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand He also appealed for greater international commitment to protect women and children 'who are violated and exposed to every form of exploitation, enslavement, violence and abuse.' He called for ways to 'uproot this evil and to provide ways to restore their dignity.' Prime Minister Chan-ocha didn't make any reference to the problem in his remarks to Francis, though he stressed that Thailand had made great strides in promoting human rights. 'We have sought to strengthen the family institution and ensure equal opportunities for all groups in society, especially women and children,' he told Francis after a brief private meeting.

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