As the world’s media focuses its attention on the Fifa World Cup 2010 Final Draw in Cape Town on December 4, few will be aware of the impact the tournament may have on the lives of vulnerable women and children targeted by trafficking syndicates.
National Trafficking Awareness Day, which takes place two days before the draw, on December 2, hopes to raise some awareness about the global problem.
“The huge influx of people over this period will drive demand. Of equal concern is the amount of school age children who will be trafficked during this time. We have already come across cases of children going missing in schools and we expect this to escalate over the 2010 period,” said Natalie Bulling, coordinator for Red Light Human Trafficking, an initiative started with the intention of combating and creating awareness about the disturbing prevalence of human trafficking in Southern Africa.
Concerns have been raised by Red Light and other organisations operating in this field, that more than 100 000 people could be trafficked into the country during the World Cup.
Currently South Africa has no legislation to cover human trafficking; as a result, a lot of cases slip through the radar. “The absence of legislation has impacted on the data-collection, investigation and prosecution of people involved with in-country and cross border trafficking,” said Julayga Alfred, Director of Activists Networking against the Exploitation of Child Domestic Workers (Anex CDW).
A global report on trafficking has identified South Africa as source, transit and destination country for the trafficking of women, men and children. The Trafficking in Person’s (TIP) report has put South Africa on the Tier Two Watch list, for the fourth consecutive year for its failure to show increasing efforts to address trafficking. More than 175 countries are included in the report, the most comprehensive worldwide research on the efforts of governments to combat severe forms of trafficking in persons. Ranging from Tier One to Three, the Tier Two Watch list places South Africa in a danger zone in terms of compliance with laws to prevent trafficking.
Director of child rights organisation Molo Songololo, Patric Solomons, said children have been identified as the most vulnerable during the World Cup.
“The vulnerable status of children places them at particular risk of being exploited by their elders in the hope of economic gain. Pull factors specifically related to the 2010 Fifa World Cup are mostly linked to poorer communities’ perceptions regarding the socio-economic benefits of the event,” said Solomons.
The United Nations estimates that child trafficking generates $US7 to $10 billion annually for traffickers, citing trafficking in persons as the second most lucrative crime around the world next to the drug trade.
Solomons said the importance of large-scale awareness campaigns during the World Cup, which is expected to generate more than $4-billion, the highest revenue in World Cup history, is of the utmost importance. – West Cape News