Pope’s appeal – protect children from exploitation

“Every effort” should be made to protect children from exploitation “which deprives boys and girls of their childhood and which jeopardizes their integral development”, says Pope Francis.

Children’s situations have been made worse because of “the current health emergency situation,” Francis says. Many children and young people are “forced into jobs that are inadequate for their age” just to help their families in conditions of extreme poverty.

“In many cases these are forms of slavery and imprisonment, resulting in physical and psychological suffering.”

“We are all responsible. I appeal to the institutions to make every effort to protect minors, filling the economic and social gaps that underlie the distorted dynamic in which they are unfortunately involved.”

“Children are the future of the human family: all of us are expected to promote their growth, health and tranquility.”

Francis spoke out in support of the need to protect children from exploitation in the days leading up to the World Day Against Child Labour, which was marked on Friday.

The 12 June is marked as a special day to bring attention to this problem of child labour and to find ways to eradicate it or fight against it.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to highlight the situation of the many children in the five to 17-year old group who are engaged in work that deprives them of a normal childhoods.

There are about 152 million children in child labour at present, according to the ILO. Of these, 72 million are employed to do hazardous work.

The ILO agrees with the pope that as a result of the pandemic, these children are now at even greater risk of facing circumstances that are even more difficult and working longer hours.


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