In light of the recent World Cup in South Africa, Vanguard, the television documentary series, recently aired an episode focusing on the dirty underground of the soccer world. Boys from poverty-stricken regions of West Africa are being trafficked by the thousands by sports agents who promise to fulfill the young boys’ hopes that their soccer skills will lead to international stardom through European soccer leagues. However, the vast majority of boys who are taken from their countries by agents are not signed to professional teams. Instead, they are abandoned by their agents in places like France and Morocco. With very few options available, some even turn to prostitution as a means of survival.
Although FIFA and other soccer organizations have done very little to halt this trend, Jean Claude Mbvoumin, a former professional soccer player, founded an organization called Foot Solidaire which attempts to raise awareness about the issue and end the exploitation of thousands of young footballers across the globe.