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2010 child trafficking danger

 
The 2010 World Cup could see an increase in the prostitution and trafficking of children, warns Joburg Child Welfare.
By Carly Ritz

Pic: iStockphoto.com

Article originally in Parent24
Commercial sexual exploitation of children trafficked into South Africa from neighbouring countries is expected to rise dramatically during the 2010 Soccer World Cup event, according to Carol Bews, Assistant Director of Jo’burg Child Welfare.

“It is unfortunate that events like the World Cup which will place a positive international spotlight on South Africa and bring with it major economic and other opportunities will always have a dark side.

‘Paedophiles use opportunities like these to mingle with 1000s of bona-fide tourists pouring into a country for their own, entirely different reasons. Their targets are trafficked children forced into prostitution and also vulnerable local children,’ says Carol.

Trafficking of children (anything from age 5 to teens) across South Africa’s borders is expected to increase sharply, she says. In most cases the children would be lured away from poverty-stricken parents who would release children to traffickers believing that they were to go to South Africa where education opportunities and jobs awaited them. Locally, children from rural provincial areas could be “recruited” and moved to the cities

‘The truth is that these children will be beaten, raped and even forced into an addiction to drugs before being put to work as prostitutes for the pleasure of paedophiles and so-called “sex tourists”.  With nowhere to turn, they literally become slaves who are often imprisoned in the suburbs of cities and held at the whim of the trafficker,’ she said.

Traffickers hard to catch

The nature of the crime, backed by the mobility of the perpetrators, makes it difficult for traffickers to be apprehended, Carol says. There is also currently a lack of legislation specifically on trafficking of persons.

Local children, enjoying the longer school holidays that would accompany the World Cup, would also become vulnerable as they gathered without parental supervision at the various stadiums to get a glimpse of their soccer heroes.

In an effort to reduce the incidence of trafficking and exploitation, JCW, together with the Department of Social Development and the Emergency Management Services, are taking steps to ensure that children in Gauteng are kept safe during the international event.

A second 2010 initiative would link the South African Network on Trafficking and Abuse of Children (SANTAC) and WLSA, a women’s leadership organisation in SADC countries with Oxfam, who would be providing finance, for an awareness campaign across the region.

‘The Red Light 2010 campaign will see a poster campaign launched across the region as one phase of an integrated strategy to raise knowledge about the problem of trafficking and the need to keep children safe.

‘Trafficking is a hidden crime that is difficult to detect; it is also lucrative- now third to the drug trade and arms smuggling as a global source of illegal income,’ says Carol. ‘It is a growing problem that has to be vigorously addressed and defeated for the sake of our children.’

For more information please contact Jo’burg Child Welfare: communications@jhbchildwelfare.org.za

Do you fear that child trafficking will increase with the World Cup around the corner?
Read more on: teen  |  2010  |  child trafficking  |  safety
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