Kidnap victim to travel to Vatican, meet Pope

A Colombian girl that was kidnapped for 19 days in September will travel to the Vatican in Italy to meet the Pope Benedict on December 12, according to the Catholic News Agency.

The kidnapped girl, Nhora Valentina Muñoz, and her family will join the Pope in attending the celebrations of the feast of our Lady of Guadalupe to take place at the Vatican.

Pope Benedict made a number of speeches and petitions demanding for the release of the kidnapped child, following her abduction on her way to school on September 29.

The child spent 19 days in captivity before being released on October 17. Both the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Pope, along with many politicians and members of Colombian society, demanded the release of the little girl.

The kidnapping of the child shocked Colombian society and outraged the international community, due to a belief that children should not be involved in the ongoing conflict within the country.

The international controversy and involvement of international bodies sparked by the kidnapping of the young girl is unusual in Colombia, once known as the ‘kidnapping capital of the world.’

Although kidnapping rates have gone down substantially over the past decade, an average of four children are still kidnapped every month in Colombia. According to a study by a non-profit organization Pais Libre, 21 children have been kidnapped in Colombia so far in 2011.

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