June 24, 2013

Many of the hundreds of millions of child labourers around the world work under conditions of “real slavery,” Pope Francis said.

Marking the World Day Against Child Labor June 12, the pope told people at his weekly general audience that he hoped the international community could find more effective means to stop the exploitation of boys and girls in jobs that are often dangerous and in situations where they are subjected to all kinds of abuse.

“These people, instead of letting them play, make them slaves,” the pope said.

“This is a plague.” The pope said, “All children have a right to play, study, pray and grow within their own families in an atmosphere of harmony, love and serenity.

It is their right and our obligation.”

For 2013, the International Labour Organization, which sponsors the World Day Against Child Labour, focused on the 10.5 million children who do domestic work – cleaning, ironing, cooking, collecting water, looking after other children or caring for the elderly – in other people’s homes.