Oppressive Child Labor Declines

By , December 20, 2013 5:13 am


When we think of Christmas morning, we naturally think of the joyful experiences that most of the children in our country enjoy. They are so excited. They are so happy. Santa has been there and they see exciting gifts all around them.
I hate to throw cold water on our pleasant thoughts this special week, but for at least a few moments let’s think about the fact that the International Labor Organization, located in Geneva, has documentation showing that there are 168 million child laborers worldwide. This includes more than 80 million who are trapped in the worst forms of child labor – forced into slavery, trafficked into the sex industry, exploited in the drug trade, or working in dangerous mines and as farm laborers. The ILO estimates that more than 20,000 children are killed at work worldwide every year.

Because it is Christmas, I want to put this in a much more positive perspective. Because of international concern, there are almost 78 million fewer children in 2012 than there were in 2000. Concerned forces in Asia and the Pacific region have worked hard to bring about this decline in child labor among 5 to 17 year olds. Finally, the number of children in hazardous work has declined by more than half.

Thanks be to God. Let’s pray that before too many more Christmases have passed that this scourge on the human family will have been eliminated.

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