While the 2010 soccer showpiece next year will bring an influx of tourists and opportunities, it will also bring child predators. There has already been marked increase in child trafficking in the country and the targets are mainly boys under the age of 18 years.
That is the warning of Professor Susan Kreston, a consultant to governments and NGOs on child abuse and exploitation issues. She says a study last year, which looked at the internal trafficking of children in the country, saw in increase for pornographic purposes.
“Child trafficking is the removal of the child from a safe environment. With the levels of poverty in South Africa, visitors are seen as wealthy. With the World Cup, the environment will be ripe for exploitation”.
Children can be lured with tickets to matches or be enticed with opportunities to make money.
“We are very concerned about it. If just a tiny number of visitors engage in child trafficking or child pornography, it’s going to be a problem. Investigation will be difficult as these people will go back to their countries. The children won’t know there names,” says Professor Kreston.
“The treat is very real. Now we have children who will be out of school for five weeks because they have holidays during the tournament. When the children are in school we know where they are for six hours a day. We won’t know where they are at all for the whole five weeks.”
Vanessa Scholtz (Tygertalk)
Note : MAB is alarmed by reports coming in from areas where the mothers are training the 10 year olds to do “messages”, because as they put it “the uncles will pay a lot for it”.