Childhood Brasil warns about the risk of increasing exploitation of children and adolescents during major sports events

São Paulo – Less than 100 days for FIFA World Cup, Childhood Brasil signals to be more alert for the protection of children and adolescents in Brazil. During the event, the gathering of tourists in the host cities and the resulting demand for temporary workers may trigger an increase in child labor and in vulnerability factors for the exploitation of children and adolescents.

“We are dedicated to finding an event that develop actions to mitigate the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and adolescents”, the entity’s executive director, Ana Maria Drummond, states. “Our main objective is to contribute for this mega event to leave a positive legacy for Brazilian children and adolescents”, she adds.

Among the numerous risk factors named by the entity, during the sports events, the preponed school vacation is one of the most worrisome. The heavier traffic of people throughout Brazil, more alcohol and drugs being consumed, and many parents without a place to leave their children create a vulnerability environment for childhood and adolescence.

In action – Keeping FIFA World Cup in mind, Childhood Brasil has been present in different fronts. The first front is to disseminate knowledge, as you fight the problem through knowledge. For that, Childhood Brasil brought to Brazil, in partnership with the OAK Foundation, a study carried out by Brunel University, London, called “Child Exploitation and the FIFA World Cup: A review of risks and protective intervention”.

The study confirmed that major sports events, such as FIFA World Cup or the Olympics, bring an increase in risk of violation of children and adolescents’ rights. “Since 2012, we have been organizing ourselves to receive FIFA World Cup. We have a comprehensive project in progress, exclusively designed to disseminate information and prevent risks”, Ana Maria Drummond explains. “The dissemination, in Brazil, of the results of Brunel University’s study is one of the pillars of this project, as, besides working to influence action plans towards childhood protection, in the host cities, we increase the subject’s visibility and coordinate action plans with the three sectors to fight for this cause”, she adds.

The study, carried out and completed in 2013, involved the review of near 300 publications, reports, and web sites, case studies and consulting over 70 important groups of people interested in the subject, social organizations, sports organizations, and the government, including UNICEF, Childhood Brasil itself, FIFA, and soccer associations.

During the pre-FIFA World Cup period, Childhood’s second major action is to involve the private sector in the cause, which comprehends from distance learning plans, in partnership with EY (prior Ernst & Young), to training, for instance, the employees of Atlantica Hotels that has 80 hotels in 45 Brazilian cities, 10 of which are hosting games. The NGO is also contributing for the formation of the Sports Ministry’s volunteers, for them to be on the watch for rights violations during FIFA World Cup and to know how to act, when facing sexual exploitation.

Still in the scope of the actions linked to the major event, Childhood Brasil is actively participating in the Convergence Agenda, an inter-sector initiative, coordinated by the Human Rights Secretariat of the Presidency of Brazil. The project establishes, in each host-city, the creation and the strenghthening of Committees for the Complete Protection of Children and Adolescents.

In numbers – According to the Brazilian rights-violation reporting hotline of the Human Rights Secretariat of the Presidency of Brazil (SDH/PR), over 120,000 reports on children and adolescents’ rights violation were filed in 2013.

Among the 12 States that will host the games, there are five top-rankers in the rights-violation reporting, according to 2013 data:

1st São Paulo – 17,990

2nd Rio de Janeiro – 15,635

3rd Bahia – 10,957

4th Minas Gerais – 9,565

5th Rio Grande do Sul – 6,269

It is important to note that these numbers do not reflect the actual situation, as not all cases are reported.