Thursday, May 20, 2010

Countdown to the 2010 World Cup

As the 2010 World Cup games quickly approach, human traffickers and abolitionists alike are gearing up for a busy month. According to one estimate, at least 373,000 football fans are expected to be drawn to the events in South Africa. Although it is hard to make an accurate estimate of the number of sex workers that will also be present, it is clear that they are already arriving in force and their numbers undoubtedly include those who will be working against their will.

According to the
Christian Science Monitor, local hotel employees report seeing an influx of prostitutes from many different countries, from as far away as China, Pakistan, India, Hong Kong, and Venezuela, although the primary source country for incoming sex workers appears to be Zimbabwe. According to the Monitor, cross-border bus drivers have reported that most of their passengers in April were women, which is unusual because normally their passengers primarily consist of men traveling to South Africa for work.

Despite these reports from locals, an anonymous senior Home Affairs official told the
Monitor that "We do not have evidence of [prostitutes entering the country], but will always make sure that no illegals, particularly human traffickers, enter the country through our ports." One has to wonder about the diligence of the government, if it truly does "not have evidence" of entering prostitutes, while hotels and bus drivers report that entering prostitutes have been comprising a majority of their clientele.

Meanwhile, charity and international organizations have been working to spread awareness about human trafficking during the games. One international network of Catholic women's orders has been running an awareness
campaign called "2010 Should Be About the Game," targeting attendees, potential victims, and the general public.

International Organization for Migration launched an initiative this week to support organizations responding to human trafficking during the World Cup, which will be funded by the U.S. Department of State. The initiative will primarily fund activities raising awareness, including radio dramas, theater, road shows, soccer matches, and school trainings.

FIFA has taken unusual steps toward assisting South Africa's police force, holding a security meeting at its headquarters with international security representatives, and funding additional police officers from all participating nations to assist the South African police force during the games. Although there is no indication the assistance is directed toward addressing the trafficking problem, hopefully it will free up more of the South African police to put more efforts towards assisting the games' most vulnerable and unwilling participants.

Image source:
The Catholic Herald

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:03 PM

    I think that the things that go on in the human trafficking world are sickening. Its good to know that there are people taking action on this horrible, and indecent crime. I didn’t know that global sporting events like that FIFA world cup had such an impact on the traffickers. Is weird to know that there could be things like this terrible crime going on some events I have been to, granted none of the things I have been to were international, but im sure if it can happen in South Africa it could happen anywhere, like some of the Chicago Cubs or Chicago Blackhawks games I have been to. To me it is really comforting that most of the nations involved in the FIFA world cup are committing man power and money to the cause, which is policing the South African area more intensely than normal. The groups that advocate this should be treated as somewhat of a terror organization. They have different cells for different markets, and they cause all kinds of terror on the people that they use in during it. They should be systematically destroyed. The organization of migration should be applauded for their efforts to seek out these terror cells.