Child trafficking to increase

With the South African World Cup just days away, there is continued concern that the event will be used for human trafficking. It has been estimated that between 40,000 to 100,000 people may be trafficked for the World Cup. In January, Time magazine reported on a three week investigation into human trafficking.

Finding a lucrative trade in child sex near two stadiums, one trafficker said, “I’m really looking forward to doing more business during the World Cup.” Children can earn $45 to $600 a night for their captors. Although the numbers of people trafficked are hard to verify, the issue is of enough concern for South Africa’s President Zuma to warn parents to be vigilant during the World Cup to guard against a possible jump in child trafficking.

On Friday 21 May, at the launch of Child Protection Week and the Children’s Act, Zuma said, “While we are excited that we’ll be receiving visitors for the FIFA World Cup we must be mindful that an event of this magnitude opens opportunity for criminals with ill intentions of trafficking in women and children.”

With South African schools closed for the month-long Cup, which starts on June 11, Zuma noted, “Not all parents and care-givers will be able to align their vacation with that of the extended school vacation. We urge parents to take extra care and ensure that their children are supervised and provided with guidance at all times. “Children wandering alone in shopping malls and football stadiums will be vulnerable to people with evil intentions.”

South Africa has fast-tracked a new law against human trafficking to bring it into effect before the World Cup, which will make it easier to prosecute suspects and will give South African courts jurisdiction over acts outside the country’s borders. “We will play our part as government but parents and care-givers also have to be vigilant,” he said.

The UK is also a major destination for trafficked women. Police believe that about 4,000 have been brought in to the country and forced to work as prostitutes. Criminal gangs bring them into the country individually or in small, escorted groups. The routes used can change quickly, although some broad routes have been identified. Victims are found “all over the UK, not just in metropolitan areas”, police say.

The gangs behind the trade buy and sell the women for between £2,000 and £8,000. Some have been forced to work 16 hours and have sex with 30 men a day.



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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I think it is great that human trafficking is being talked about in regards to modern-day sporting events. Good on South Africa for fast-tracking legislation on this. The Canadian 2010 Winter Olympics saw a rise in demand, some girls even being sold on Craigslist during the games. Let’s continue to keep our eyes open during any event where thousands (or millions) of people come together.

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