Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items:
 News Briefs
 Word To Life
 More News:
 Special Section:
 Vatican II at 40
 John Paul II
 Election 2004
 Charter update
 John Jay study
 Other Items:
 Client Area
 Did You Know...

 The whole CNS
 public Web site
 headlines, briefs
 stories, etc,
 represents less
 than one percent
 of the daily news

 Get all the news!

 If you would like
 more information
 about the
 Catholic News
 Service daily
 news report,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 (202) 541-3250


 This material
 may not
 be published,
 rewritten or
 (c) 2005
 Catholic News
 Conference of
 Catholic Bishops.

 CNS Story:

CHILDREN-REPORT Jan-6-2006 (450 words) xxxi

More than 800 million children are exploited, says Vatican report

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- More than 800 million children around the world are victims of malnutrition, disease, trafficking and other forms of economic and social exploitation, an annual Vatican report said.

Among the more worrisome trends are the more than 200 million child laborers between 5 and 14 years of age and the increase in street children on several continents, it said.

Millions more children are forced into armed conflict or prostitution. In many countries, births are unregistered, leaving those children open to a lifetime of exploitation, it said.

"They are the scandal of our time. For 860 million children of the world, the future is an unknown and the present is a nightmare that lies on the consciences of adults," said the report, issued Jan. 5 by Fides, the Vatican missionary news agency.

The annual report, first prepared in 2004, seeks to draw attention to the plight of young people on the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord, which the church marks as the world missionary day for children.

The Holy Childhood Association, one of four pontifical mission societies, finances and supports thousands of projects aiding the neediest children in developing countries. In 2004, it allocated $18 million for nearly 1,800 projects, including programs at schools and orphanages.

The report said that among the estimated 211 million child laborers about 171 million work in hazardous environments -- operating dangerous machinery, handling toxic materials or spending hours in poorly ventilated mines, for example.

At the origin of many forms of child exploitation is the fact that, according to UNICEF, more than 50 million children born each year, mostly in Africa and Asia, are never registered. They become, in effect, clandestine in their homelands, unknown to their own governments, the report said.

The Vatican report said that among the estimated 120 million street children about half live in South America, and some 30 million live in Asia. It said the street children population was increasing, particularly in the major cities of Eastern Europe.

Human trafficking involves more than a million children each year, in what has become a $1.2 billion business, it said. The phenomenon is growing, and Europe has become a central hub for the trade in children, it said.

Most of the victims are between 8 and 16 years old, destined for forced labor, criminal activities or prostitution; some newborns are also sold for adoption, it said.

The report cited projections that in a few years the number of children in Africa orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic will reach 18 million. Every minute in Africa, it said, one child contracts HIV and one child dies of AIDS.


Copyright (c) 2006 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250