Posted in News

Human Trafficking Expected to Increase during World Cup

While many in South Africa cheer the influx of tourists arriving for this year’s FIFA World Cup, others warn that with them will come an increase in human trafficking, specifically of women and children. In a controversial report, the South African Drug Control Authority estimated that 40,000 sex workers will enter the country for the World Cup. Though the South African government and international aid organizations have attempted to address human trafficking, it is unclear how effective these measures will be.

In August of last year, South African President Jacob Zuma promised to increase security measures to limit human trafficking and fast-tracked legislation designed to strengthen the country’s disjointed laws for prosecuting traffickers. However, few substantive changes have been implemented. A recent UNICEF (United Nation’s Children’s Fund) report highlighted South Africa’s removal of visa requirements for travelers from Southern Africa as a major human trafficking concern. Since the kickoff of the World Cup, the enactment of the new trafficking legislation has stalled.

Aid organizations have focused on combating human trafficking through educational campaigns. The “Red Card” campaign hands out tickets in World Cup crowds, printed with slogans denouncing trafficking, such as: “Child slaves outnumber pro footballers. Makes you wonder what our favorite pastime really is.” The United Nations is distributing materials to “sensitize” the population in South Africa, and UNIFEM (the UN Development Fund for Women) hosted a children’s soccer tournament to raise awareness. In addition, the Salvation Army and its partner organization Be Heard have launched a 24-hour toll-free hotline for trafficked persons in South Africa.

The nature of the problem makes it difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs. However, what is clear is that continued vigilance can only help in South Africa, where trade in women and children was a concern even before the World Cup.

(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)

Read Ethical Traveler's Reprint Policy.