South Africa: Working to Prevent Human Trafficking at the 2010 World Cup
Monday, June 7, 2010 12:25 AM

Four hundred individuals from local schools and community-based organizations participated in a soccer tournament with a message last month in Johannesburg. The purpose of the tournament was to raise awareness about human trafficking in anticipation of the 2010 World Cup. The message against human trafficking was prevalent throughout the tournament: “Say no to trafficking in women, say yes to women’s rights.” The players received information on individual and community actions that help prevent human trafficking. Sponsoring organizations also stressed that violence against women and gender inequality are causes of trafficking; to eradicate trafficking, gender inequality must first be addressed.
The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) organized the tournament in collaboration with Johannesburg Child Welfare. The Society is best known for its Red Light 2010 campaign which focuses on countering trafficking of women and girls in relation to the World Cup. UNIFEM also presented its UNiTE to End Violence Against Women and Girls campaign.
To prepare for the World Cup and the anticipated increase in human trafficking, South Africa’s legislature implemented new legislation on human trafficking. The Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons bill is South Africa's first comprehensive legislation against human trafficking. It prosecutes traffickers, issues harsh punishments for the convicted, and gives South African courts jurisdiction to prosecute extra-territorial offenses. Under this bill, internet providers will be required to report any suspicious activity to local police forces. Additionally, human rights groups and women’s organizations have implemented other prevention efforts. These organizations have promulgated awareness and education campaigns, as well as established victim helplines.