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Today (12 June) is World Day Against Child Labour
Today the World Methodist Council observes World Day Against Child Labour, joining its voice with others around the Globe, to bring awareness to the plight of innocent children caught in conflict and disaster, and forced into labour. Over 1.5 billion people around the world live in countries affected by conflict, violence and fragility, and around 200 million people are affected by disasters every year. Of these, one-third are children.
One of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (Target 8.7) aims by the year 2030 to “eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour.”
Bishop Chibuzo Raphael Opoko, chair of the Social & International Affair Committee of the World Methodist Council states, “It is unconscionable to think that young children are exploited during times of great need and distress. The Church must stand as ONE people to ensure their safety and to bring those who would abuse them to justice.”
As Christians, and particularly Methodists, we heed the words of Jesus, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me” (Matthew 18:1-5). We know also that we are to care for the weak and vulnerable, and not exploit them (Exodust 22:22).
The World Methodist Council therefore condemns all forms of child labour and bondage, and urges its member churches to strive to eradicate its existence, wherever it may be found.