Pope Francis, UNICEF Call For End Of Child Labor
June 12, 2013 by UPI - United Press International, Inc.
VATICAN CITY, (UPI) – Pope Francis said Wednesday — the World Day Against Child Labor — that forcing children to work is “a real form of slavery.”
Francis was joined by two international organizations in speaking out against child labor.
“It is a deplorable phenomenon, which is constantly increasing, especially in poor countries,” the pontiff said.
Francis said the exploitation often involves abuse, mistreatment and discrimination.
“This is a real form of slavery,” he said. ”It is my heartfelt hope that the international community will initiate still more effective measures in addressing this authentic plague.”
A UNICEF report released Wednesday said there are 150 million working children between the ages of 5 and 14.
An estimated 115 million children under 17 are employed in dangerous industries, often coming into contact with chemicals or carrying heavy loads.
UNICEF representatives said many children work to help their families but the practice becomes inappropriate when the work is dangerous or when children are missing school.
“When they are at risk and their health and well-being are impaired, they must be taken out of such situations,” UNICEF Chief of Child Protection Susan Bissell said.
The International Labor Organization also released a report Wednesday. It stated that more than 71 percent of child laborers are girls.