Prato (Italy) :Pope Francis denounced the “cancer” of abusive labour practices during a visit today to the Italian industrial city of Prato, where a 2013 garment factory fire killed seven Chinese workers.
Francis recalled the deaths in off-the-cuff comments to Prato residents gathered in the piazza outside the city’s cathedral.
Prato is home to some 40,000 Chinese immigrants, nearly half of them in Italy illegally, and is a major producer of cheap clothes made in largely unregulated factories that often double as dormitories for underpaid workers.
On December 1, 2013, a fire broke out in one of the factories, killing seven people.
Francis said everyone deserves respect, welcome and dignified work. He said the “inhuman” conditions the Chinese garment workers were forced to live in is not dignified work.
“The life of every community requires that we fight the cancer of corruption, the cancer of human and labour exploitation and the poison of illegality,” he said to applause from the crowd, which was dotted by Chinese flags and banners.
The Argentine Jesuit pope has frequently spoken out about the scourge of human trafficking and the need for dignified work for all.
Later, Francis headed to nearby Florence, where he was having lunch with the poor, celebrating Mass and addressing a conference of the Italian Catholic Church.