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.
The 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.
Even 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