Slavery At The World Cup

I’m sick.

I’ve caught the fever. Well, you won’t notice with a thermometer. But I have come down with World Cup fever.

As an American soccer fan, it doesn’t generate as much excitement here as other places. But when I was in Germany in 2006 when they hosted the Cup, it was incredible.

Super Bowl? World Series?

Nothing.

Not compared to the World Cup played in a soccer mad country like Germany then or Brazil starting today as they host the 2014 Cup.

But as excited as I am to see some amazing soccer, I’m also saddened. Because I know with all the spectators and chaos, there’s going to be something going on in the shadows.

Events like the World Cup are prime times for sexual abuse and child prostitution/sex trafficking.

Numbers are hard to come by since it is conducted in the dark places, but it is well-known phenomena at large events like this for an increase in human trafficking, forcing people into prostitution against their will.

Thankfully there is much more awareness about this issue all the time. According to Free the Slaves, Brazil has an innovative program to help stop forms of human slavery.

There has also been a major campaign to educate visitors that it is illegal to pay to have sex with anyone 17 and under in Brazil. It’s A Penalty has used media all over Brazil, and their videos have even been shown on flights to Brazil.

So what can we do at home to make a difference against human trafficking during the World Cup?

First of all, if you’re watching a game, take a moment to pray for the vulnerable street children and others who could be prey to a trafficker. Let’s enjoy the football but be mindful to intercede for those who could be in harm’s way.

If you want to be more educated about this or support a group fighting human slavery and child exploitation, check out my Twitter list of organizations and people involved in the fight.

Here’s to an exciting and safe World Cup for all the people of Brazil!