ope Francis holds a pamphlet for the Red Card to Child Labor campaign as he leads his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican June 11. One day in advance of the World Day against Child Labor, the pope appealed to the international communit y to help safeguard children from forced labor. The words on the pamphlet in Italian say: "All together against child labor." CNS photo/Paul Haring

Pope tells traffickers, arms manufacturers that God's judgment will come

By  Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service
  • June 10, 2014

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis denounced those responsible for human trafficking, slave labour and arms manufacturing, saying people producing weapons of war are "merchants of death."

"One day everything comes to an end and they will be held accountable to God," the Pope said at his weekly general audience June 11.

The Pope also launched an appeal to the international community to help safeguard children from forced labour, highlighting the plight of an estimated 160 million child workers worldwide. Holding up a bright red leaflet, which had, in Italian, "All together against child labour" written on it, the Pope asked the world community to help "eradicate this scourge."

The leaflet was part of the International Labour Organization's #RedCard campaign, urging people to "blow the whistle," like a referee on a soccer field, and give a "red card" to those exploiting children.

Speaking at the end of his audience talk, the Pope said June 12 was World Day Against Child Labour — a day meant to call attention to the millions of children forced to work in degrading conditions, "exposed to forms of slavery and exploitation, as well as abuse, maltreatment and discrimination." He called on everyone, especially families, to do all they could to safeguard "the dignity and possibility of a healthy upbringing" of all children so they could look to the future with hope.

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