The World Cup kicks off today on the World Day Against Child Labour and World Vision says more children will be at risk of sexual exploitation with the influx of tourists to Brazil. This form of exploitation is ranked as one of the worst forms of child labour, and children in developing countries are particularly vulnerable. With more than 3.7 million tourists expected to attend this global sporting event, World Vision is concerned that Brazilian children and adolescents may be exposed to increased risk of sexual exploitation, violence and abuse during the festivities.
The child-focused aid agency is also concerned there may be an increase of other forms of exploitation such as child labour connected with street trading of food and souvenirs, and collecting trash for recycling. The agency has been alerting Canadians to the issue of child slavery through its No Child For Sale campaign, and the festivities of the World Cup are no exception.
“Most of the 3.7 million tourists expected to visit Brazil in the next weeks are coming with good intentions,” says Joao Diniz, World Vision Brazil national director. “But we’re concerned that many of them are going to take advantage of the sex industry, which is already a big issue in Brazil, and one in which many children and adolescents are caught.”
“With more demand comes more supply. Sexual exploitation is already the second biggest form of violence against children aged between 10 and 14 years old in Brazil, so we are concerned that perpetrators will seize the opportunity offered by the World Cup to force more children and adolescents into this,” says Diniz.
“We know that children living in developing countries are often forced or trafficked to tourist spots to earn income through street begging, selling souvenirs and sexual exploitation,” says Cheryl Hotchkiss, World Vision Canada’s No Child For Sale campaign manager. “Unfortunately the dark side of major international events, like the World Cup, is they make children prey for this kind of abuse and exploitation.”
World Vision’s calls to Canadians and others attending the World Cup:
- Take responsibility for the impact of their own travel by researching hotels and travel companies to ensure they have policies or adhere to codes that protect children.
- Report the exploitation of children—labour, sexual or trafficking—they witness while abroad (www.cybertip.ca).
- Deter any travel companions from engaging in such behaviours.
Background on Canada and travelling child sex offenders:
In 1997 the Canadian Criminal Code was amended so travelling child sex offenders can be prosecuted in Canada for crimes committed abroad.
Sexual exploitation of children by tourists has two sides which fuel this gross violation of children’s rights: the supply side and the demand side. Canadians who purchase sex from children—boys and girls under the age of 18—are fueling this problem by contributing to the demand for sex with children.
With the full support of World Vision and other anti-trafficking organizations, Canada passed Bill C-268 in June 2010, which imposes minimum sentences for child traffickers. Children abused by travelling sex offenders, are often victims of trafficking.
World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. Visit our News Centre worldvision.ca