Everything began about 30 years ago, when a young man, whose spiritual father was Father Oreste Benzi, expressed his desire to talk to prostitutes and listen to their desires and tragedies. From his story, emerged all the agony and desire for revenge of those women. The first direct meeting Father Benzi had, was with a lady in her fifties at the Rimini station, begging him to give her some money. She showed him her handbag that contained only the holy picture of the Virgin Mary. Father Oreste recalled Jesus’ words: “They will precede you in the kingdom of heaven.”
Thus, he decided to go out into the streets and meet these girls personally, spending a lot of time with them on the sidewalks of his city, Rimini, where one could see so many young women who prostituted themselves. Father Oreste asked the same question every girl he met: “Do you love Jesus?” Meeting after meeting, he developed the increasingly growing conviction that they were actual slaves. Father Benzi was the first one to make Italians realize that there was an incredible scenery, submerged and unknown to the many, or deliberately ignored by some others. An ignoble market bankrolled by customers who take advantage of women and girls to cowardly satisfy their vile needs.
Father Oreste began to propose concrete ways to free these girls, gathering their stories, listening to their cry of pain, terror and despair, and realizing their situation of complete subjection. He started an operational involvement of the whole Community Pope John XXIII and soon formed the consciousness of a people that feels the suffering and wounded heart of these victims of trafficking and enslaved prostitution. “No woman is born a prostitute, there is always someone who makes her become one”, Father Oreste never got tired of repeating these words, making the public understand that state institutions cannot take the side of those who condemn women to exploitation and slavery.
Prostitution is bad and evil should not be regulated, but removed. Such a commitment will raise a stir, in every sense, but this priest, even at the risk of life, will continue to speak out the state of exploitation of the many kidnapped children from poor countries, who are raped, beaten, deceived and taken to Italy with false promises of work. Let us remember Anna, the Nigerian girl sick with AIDS, who told the Pope in tears: “Daddy, Daddy, life on the road is disgusting; Dad, free the girls on the road; Dad, I got sick on the road. Free these girls! Dad, there are many young girls on the road: dad, free these girls!”