(Vatican Radio) Below is an English language translation of the Pope’s Appeal on
the World Day Against Child Labour:
"Today the World Day Against Child Labour is being celebrated all over the world, with a reference in particular to the Exploitation of Children in domestic work: Listen, it is a deplorable phenomenon which is constantly increasing, especially in poor countries. There are millions of children, mostly girls, who are victims of this hidden form of exploitation that often involves abuse, mistreatment and discrimination. This is a real form of slavery.
It is my heartfelt hope that the international community will initiate still more effective measures in addressing this authentic plague.
All children must be able to play, study, pray and grow, in their families, this in a harmonic context, in love and serenity but these people instead of playing are slaves, and this is a plague. This is their right and our duty. A serene childhood allows children to look with confidence towards life and tomorrow. Woe to those who stifle them in their joyful enthusiasm of hope!"
Meanwhile,on this World Day Against Child Labour, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has issued a report highlighting the conditions of children who are working as domestic workers.
The findings show that an estimated 10.5 million children worldwide are working as domestic workers in people’s homes, in hazardous and sometimes slavery-like conditions.
Six and a half million of these child labourers are aged between five and 14 years-old and more than 71 per cent are girls.
“Almost every day of the year we see reports of children being exposed to physical abuse, physiological abuse, sometimes to sexual violence. These children are often isolated from the family, they can be hidden from the public eye and they’re highly dependent on their employers”, says Patrick Quinn, Senior Specialist at the ILO’s programme on the elimination of child labour.
He tells Lydia O’Kane there are a number of underlying causes that lead children into child labour such as poverty, lack of education and the lack of opportunities themselves to develop proper incomes. Mr Quinn adds that these root causes need to be addressed. Listen to Lydia O’Kane’s interview with Patrick Quinn