Campaign Against Child Labor Steps Up During World Cup

Mani Tese Says Soccer Balls Are Product of Ill-Paid Labor

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ROME, JUNE 3, 2002 ( Coinciding with the Korea-Japan World Cup is a campaign to sensitize public opinion against the abuse of child labor.

The «Let´s Kick the Abuse of Children» initiative was launched by Mani Tese (Hands Outstretched), an association that organizes the Global March Against Child Labor in Europe. On May 19 the group received the public support of John Paul II.

Maria Rosa Cutillo, responsible for the children´s section of this organization, explained over Vatican Radio that the soccer balls are sewn to a great extent by children´s hands, or by adults who at times endure unjust working conditions.

The campaign intends to exert pressure on the International Federation of Soccer Associations (FIFA), so that it will struggle — as it has committed itself to do — effectively against the abuse of child and adult labor in the production sector of sports articles.

«We request that at least minimum subsistence salaries be guaranteed to adult workers, putting into practice control mechanisms to verify that these violations are not taking place,» Cutillo added.

She said her organization has evidence of cases of child exploitation and very poor work conditions for adults, especially in the north of India, in Pakistan and in China.

According to UNESCO, over the next few years $9 billion is needed to ensure basic education for all the world´s children, education being «the fundamental weapon to combat the abuse of minors,» Mani Tese explained.

On the contrary, «$8 billion have been spent on restructuring and constructing new stadiums in Korea and Japan to prepare for the World Soccer Cup,» Cutillo said.

Mani Tese has a Web page at

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