THE BLOG
11/07/2018 08:16 SAST | Updated 11/07/2018 08:17 SAST

Human Trafficking: The Other Side Of The World Cup Which Nobody Sees

'Exactly what happens to whom during the World Cup events that generate so much money for some and such misery for others.'

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OPINION

While you're having fun watching the World Cup, spare a thought for the women trafficked and sold for prostitution to entertain the drunken fans...

The football World Cup is several weeks of fun, frivolity and excitement for millions and millions of people around the world. But less so if you are a woman trafficked and sold into prostitution by cartels seeking to cash in from entertaining the hordes of fans visiting Russia

Julia Siluyanova, of Russian anti-slavery group Alternativa, told Reuters: 'This is a real present for traffickers, we discovered that about 30 victims (Nigerian women) were brought to the Confederations Cup in Moscow last year.'

Reuters agency also reported that "Nigeria's anti-trafficking agency NAPTIP said it had received intelligence that human traffickers were planning to take advantage of the tournament and that it was working with the Russian embassy in the capital of Abuja to tackle the issue".

Part of the problem is that Russia's normally strict border entry criteria have been relaxed to allow fans to visit. Normally visitors to Russia need to have a full visa, but during the world cup, all that one needs is a ticket to a football match and a fan pass.

Not that Russia needs to import sex workers. Due to poverty, limited economic opportunity due to slow economic growth, and the presence of powerful criminal gangs, Russian women themselves are all too often exploited.

The Russian self-help group Silver Rose estimates that the total number of prostitutes in Russia is about 3 million and that a sizable number of them work in this industry against their will.

The UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) estimates that in many countries up to 40 percent of trafficked women come from Eastern European countries, and there are numerous reports of these women being transported back East for the duration of the World Cup.

All of which makes one think that FIFA should be taking a closer look at, and more responsibility for, exactly what happens to whom during the World Cup events that generate so much money for some and such misery for others.