The Pope: child labor is robbing children of their future

Child labor “is the exploitation of children in the production processes of the globalized economy for the profit and gain of others. It is the denial of children’s right to health, education and harmonious growth, including the possibility of playing and dreaming. It is robbing children of their future and, therefore, of humanity itself. It is a violation of human dignity”, Pope Francis told the participants of the International Conference “Eradicate child labor, build a better future”

Raimundo de Lima – Vatican News

Listen to the report with the voice of Pope Francis

“Extreme poverty, lack of work and the resulting despair in families are the factors that most expose children to exploitation at work. If we want to eradicate the plague of child labor, we have to work together to eradicate poverty, to correct the distortions of the current economic system, which centralizes wealth in the hands of a few.” “All social actors are called into question in the fight against child labor and the causes that determine it.”

That’s what Pope Francis said when he received in audience this Friday morning (11/19) in the Consistory Room, in the Vatican, the participants, in the afternoon of this Friday, of the International Conference “Eradicate child labor, build a better future”, promoted by the Department for the Service of Integral Human Development.

child labor plague

“The scourge of child labour, which you are now reflecting on together, is of particular importance to the gift it’s the future of our humanity. The way we relate to children, the extent to which we respect their innate human dignity and their fundamental rights, expresses what kind of adults we are and want to be and what kind of society we want to build,” the Pope said.

The Pontiff was emphatic in stating that “it is shocking and disturbing that in today’s economies, whose production activities are based on technological innovations, so much so that we speak of the ‘fourth industrial revolution’, the employment of children in work activities persists everywhere of the globe.

“This puts their health, their mental and physical well-being at risk and deprives them of the right to education and to live their childhood with joy and serenity. The pandemic made the situation even worse.”

Small housework, child labor is something else

At this point in his speech, the Holy Father made a clear and opportune distinction. “Child labor should not be confused with the small domestic tasks that children, in their free time and according to their age, can carry out in the context of family life, to help their parents, siblings and grandparents or other members of the community. These activities are generally beneficial to their development as they allow them to test their abilities and grow in awareness and responsibility.

That said, Pope Francis has specified that child labor is an entirely different issue!

a violation of human dignity

“It is the exploitation of children in the production processes of the globalized economy for the profit and gain of others. It is the denial of children’s right to health, education and harmonious growth, including the possibility of playing and dreaming. It is robbing children of their future and, therefore, of humanity itself. It is a violation of human dignity.”

Francisco stated that “we need to encourage States and actors in the business world to create decent work opportunities at fair wages that allow families to meet their needs without their children being forced to work.”

“We must unite our efforts – the Pope continued – to promote quality education, free for all, in every country, as well as a health system that is accessible to all without distinction.”

a big sign of hope

The Pontiff also said that the participation in this Conference by representatives of international organizations, civil society, businesses and the Church is a sign of great hope, and then made an urgent exhortation:

“I urge the Department for the Service of Integral Human Development, which is also responsible for promoting the development of children, to continue this work of encouragement, facilitation and coordination of initiatives and efforts already underway at all levels to combat the Child labor.”

The Holy Father concluded by thanking the participants and expressing his gratitude for their commitment to this cause “which is a true question of civilization”, encouraging them to move forward, always bearing in mind the words of Jesus in the Gospel: “Everything you did to one of these little ones, you did to me” (Mt 25.40).

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