According to a recent report from Caritas Spain, more than 2,200 women are receiving help in exiting prostitution thanks to the group’s concentrated efforts in fighting human trafficking and supporting immigrants.

But, the group says that it’s the support of public officials that is still desperately needed.

“We are appealing to elected officials and the public authorities to not turn a deaf ear or look the other way from the shame of this modern slavery that is prostitution and that is in plain sight,” Caritas emphasized in its report.

Hilda Daems, who is in charge of the female prostitution program with Caritas, pointed out that the better part of the solution to this problem begins by focusing on the women and respecting their human rights.

Caritas Spain representatives presented their document entitled “Prostitution As Seen in the Experience of Caritas” at a recent press conference held at its Madrid headquarters.

The 80-page document analyzes the reality of prostitution as an area of social exclusion and examines how the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church can, based on Caritas’ 30-year experience in the field, be best applied to help.

The report looks the reality of this grave social phenomenon from the life experiences of the women who are being ministered to by different Caritas projects all over Spain. Some women in the report are still out working on the street and in clubs while others are recovering in care centers and shelters.

Among its findings, the report determined that these women have a similar profile: many are less than 25 years old, foreign-born, have little education, and dependent children. Less than 20 percent of them are Spanish.

The publication concludes with an extensive chapter containing proposals that would make it possible to transform the social reality underlying the persistence of this problem, namely poverty and organized human traffickers.

The report calls for educating young people in values, conducting public campaigns warning about the serious harms of prostitution, and supporting the needs of foreign women involved in prostitution in Spain by granting them access to the healthcare system.

Another proposal supports penalizing those who are profiting from human trafficking — a business which involves as much money on the international level as the arms trade or illegal drugs — as well as creating a comprehensive law against trafficking.