5 Recommendations for Sport Organisations in 2021
Every year, hundreds of thousands of children are smuggled across borders and sold as commodities, including promising young athletes trafficked by sham agents promising fame, riches, and an escape route from a cycle of poverty. With only broad estimates of how many youths, particularly of African and South American origin, leave their country to pursue an often-false rainbow, it is difficult to determine the true extent of the problem. Political Institutions and Civil Society are showing increasing concern on this issue and have subsequently passed policy resolutions and recommendations that address the phenomenon. Young aspiring footballers are the most affected.
Sport organisations can play a key role in affecting meaningful change on this problem, leading awareness and advocacy and making a statement of no tolerance for human trafficking in and through sport. The seriousness of this issue is evident through the sport regulations that have been implemented in the last two decades, which aim to prevent this kind of abuse and exploitation. For example, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance of the Olympic and Sports Movement, prohibits exploitation of young athletes and explicitly states that for protecting athletes:
- Measures should be taken to prohibit exploitation of young athletes
- Athletes should be protected from unscrupulous recruiters and agents
- Cooperation with the government of the countries concerned should be developed
- Codes of conduct should be signed by all sport organisations
Sport organisations have become accustomed to the phrase ‘creating a culture of safety’ so often that sometimes the phrase can lack meaning or mean nothing more than a box-ticking exercise that ensures the required policies are in place. Creating a culture of safety means embedding safeguarding into everything an organisation does. In view of this, Mission 89 provides sport organisations with 5 recommendations comprising crucial actions and steps to take the collective fight against human trafficking in sport to the next level in 2021.