National Catholic Reporter

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Nuns reach out to sex workers in fight against prostitution in the Philippines

  • Mary Queen of Heaven Missionaries Junior Sr. Joy Culaiban checks her cellphone. The phone is an invaluable tool to connect the sisters with sex workers who want help leaving prostitution. (N.J. Viehland)
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In a red-light district in Cebu, central Philippines, the taxi stopped when its passenger called out, "There, that girl," pointing to one of the women standing in the line along the road in Camagayan community. His choice of sex partner, however, is a nun.

"No, she's not one of us," the pimp answered the man in the taxi. The chosen woman is a member of Mary Queen of Heaven Missionaries, who was with a few other nuns and volunteers talking to female sex workers in the street while the workers waited for customers.

These "rescue operations," teams of two to six nuns and volunteer laypeople, are part of the apostolate to reach out to prostituted women and girls in Philippine cities and towns and to establish contact with them by distributing rosaries, scapulars and missionaries' phone numbers so those who want help can contact them.

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