Sunday, June 8, 2014

Prostitution and FIFA

A few weeks ago, Francis Chivuta discussed how Zambia battles human trafficking through sport. Sports assist in building and maintaining the local community through social networking and shared experiences and achievements. Sports also contribute to national economic growth and pride. These positive outcomes of sports and recreational activities unfortunately facilitates a market for human trafficking - funneling demand to a particular location and the locals providing the commodity. 
"Brazil is a large source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor."

Anyone else excited for 2014 FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup in Brazil? Not necessarily a big American soccer (European football) fan, I enjoyed playing it as a child and love watching the games with friends. In the coming weeks, many will watch the international world cup, FIFA. In 2007, Brazil won the bid to host the 2014 world cup and the last year (2013 summer) was filled with national protests against the expensive event. 

2013 Protests
The reason for the protests include the under-investment in public services and the over-expenditure into the world cup.  Brazil built grand stadiums and the infrastructure necessary for the event, while skimping on social services and increasing prices and other issues like corruption, few hospitals, depreciated transportation system, and mismanagement of the construction for FIFA. 

With this unrest framing the festivities of FIFA, prostitution and child sex trafficking is on the rise. 
"The most significant human rights abuses included poor and at times life-threatening conditions in some prisons, sex trafficking of children and adolescents, forced labor, and exploitative working conditions."

End Child Prostitution in Brazil
As a sex tourism destination, the nation combats with sex trafficking and tourism and child exploitation. In Brazil, the age of consent is 14, with statutory rape penalized with sentences ranging from eight to fifteen years. Major coastal cities serve as tourist destinations for the sexual exploitation of children and adolescents without laws specifically addressing child sex tourism. Thousands of Brazilian highways have been identified by the police as hotspots for commercial sexual exploitation of children
"More than 100,000 children were victims of sexual exploitation each year."
Many women and children are forced into prostitution abroad, with destinations including  neighboring countries such as Suriname, French Guiana, Venezuela, and Paraguay, and even further to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Canada, Switzerland, Mexico, Argentina, and the United States. With FIFA and a massive influx of tourists and fans arriving to Brazil for the games, the rampant child sex tourism issue remains unresolved and lacking global intervention and advocacy. 
"Child sex tourists typically arrive from Europe and, to a lesser extent, the United States."
With sixteen anti-trafficking offices, the government has implemented a national anti-trafficking plan and committed to approximately $2.9 million on it by 2014 this year. However, this plan faces defeat by Brazil's fickle trafficking definition that limits it to a movement-based crime. Increased efforts to investigate and prosecute trafficking offenses, and convict and sentence trafficking offenders, including those involved in internal sex trafficking can make a huge difference in the lives of women and children. With FIFA and the not-so-distant Rio 2016 Olympic Games draining the government of funds, dedication to increased funding for specialized assistance, shelters, and protection for victims of sex trafficking and forced labor appear to be a far-off dream. 

The government took public measures to reduce demand for commercial sexual exploitation of children by continuing to raise awareness during the Carnival season, but how will this pan out during FIFA?

Street artist Paulo Ito created the mural in Sao Paulo.
Qatar was awarded the 2022 bid for the FIFA World Cup! FIFA's social responsibility is already being questioned and it is up to more bloggers and advocates to raise awareness and fight for human rights for Brazil's sport events and future sporting festivities!

For More Information Regarding Brazilian 2013 Protests:

"Eric Cantona's new documentary Looking for Rio will have it's UK premiere at Amnesty's football film festival Sidelines in London ahead of the World Cup in June. He spoke exclusively to Amnesty about football in Brazil, the passion and the protests, about how a new generation of fans and young players are being priced out of the game and the controversial decision to take the 2022 World Cup to Qatar."

For More Information Regarding Prostitution and Human Trafficking:

(in regards to 2006 FIFA World Cup)

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