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Pope condemns slave labor, profiteering

Catholic World News - May 01, 2013

Pope Francis condemned the use of slave labor in his regular weekly audience on May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.

“How many people worldwide are victims of this type of slavery, in which the person is at the service of his or her work, while work should offer a service to people so they may have dignity?” the Pope asked the 70,000 people who gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his Wednesday audience.

“Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person,” the Pope said. He expressed concern that many people—and especially young people—do not have work because of an economic system “which which seeks selfish profit, beyond the parameters of social justice.”

Pope Francis had touched on the same theme earlier in the day, as he celebrated Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae. In his homily he spoke of the dignity of labor, and said that honest work is unnecessarily difficult to find because "many social, political, and economic systems have made the choice to exploit the person in the workplace."

As an illustration of the exploitation of workers, the Pope pointed to a deadly factory accident in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and reported that the workers who were killed had been earning only €38 (about $50) a month. "And this is called slave labor!" he said.

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