Opinion

Human trafficking and sexual exploitation potentially problematic during World Cup

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Brazil,Human Trafficking,World Cup,Spencer Brown

With the focus on Brazil as the World Cup begins Thursday, the A21 Campaign hopes to raise awareness for victims of human trafficking there.

The most recent report on human trafficking available form the U.S. State Department from 2013 lists Brazil as a "tier 2" country for human trafficking.

"Child sex tourism remains a problem, particularly in resort and coastal areas in Brazil's northeast," it states. "Child sex tourists typically arrive from Europe and, to a lesser extent, the United States."

A21 started the "It's A Penalty" campaign ahead of the 2014 World Cup in an attempt to protect the especially vulnerable street children of Brazil who are taken as young children and groomed for prostitution on the streets. Police in Brazil are reportedly "concerned" that young girls are especially at risk as some 600,000 foreign tourists visit the country.

Partnering with leaders in the United Kingdom, It's A Penalty "has the full support of the Metropolitan Police, the Football Association, the British Prime Minister, the UK and Brazilian Governments and the Brazilian Federal Police," reads a statement from A21. "We are positioned to make a significant difference at this World Cup."

The House Committee on Foreign Affairs has also joined in supporting the cause. In a letter sent in February, Chairman Edward Royce, R-Calif., sought to show the wide reach of human trafficking. "Whether it be the World Cup, the Super Bowl, or the Olympics, any high-profile event that brings a large influx of visitors to a new locale also can create circumstances conducive to human trafficking and sexual exploitation," he wrote.

Authorities have said anyone caught exploiting or trafficking youth 17 and under in Brazil during the World Cup will be prosecuted in Brazil and back in their home country when they return.

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Spencer Brown

Special to the Examiner
The Washington Examiner

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