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TIME TO STAND AGAINST CHILD TRAFFICKING IN SPORT- High-Level Session at UNGA 77- New York — 27 September 2022

TIME TO STAND AGAINST CHILD TRAFFICKING IN SPORT- High-Level Session at UNGA 77- New York — 27 September 2022
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TIME TO STAND AGAINST CHILD TRAFFICKING IN SPORT

Statement by Professor Michel Veuthey Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta to monitor and combat trafficking in persons

High-Level Panel Session on Trafficking in Sports at UNGA 77 New York, 27 September 2022

Intro­duc­tion I would like to express my grat­i­tude to the organ­is­ers of this High-Lev­el Pan­el. Sport traf­fick­ing has received lim­it­ed atten­tion from Gov­ern­ments and sport organ­i­sa­tions. There is an impor­tant lack of evi­dence on the nature and the scale of this seri­ous issue.

1. Esti­mat­ed numbers

Accord­ing to the lat­est ILO-IOM-Walk Free Sep­tem­ber 2022 Report, there are 50 mil­lion slaves today. And this report does not men­tion traf­fick­ing in sports. The US Depart­ment of State includ­ed traf­fick­ing in sports for the first time in their 2020 TIP Report, and esti­mates that “with­in Europe’s soc­cer indus­try alone, it is esti­mat­ed there are 15,000 human traf­fick­ing vic­tims each year”, main­ly from West Africa.

2. Pre­ven­tion

One prob­lem that aris­es is the dif­fi­cul­ty of defin­ing traf­fick­ing in sports in the light of the UN’s Paler­mo Pro­to­col def­i­n­i­tion: for it to be con­sid­ered human traf­fick­ing, the ele­ment of exploita­tion (the “pur­pose”) must be present. There are var­i­ous degrees of exploita­tion, decep­tion and fraud. Dr. Dar­ragh McGee speaks of a “cock­tail” of decep­tion used by agents to recruit young play­ers. The inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty is start­ing to give atten­tion to the prob­lem of traf­fick­ing in sports: the UN Con­ven­tion on the Rights of the Child and the Inter­na­tion­al Labour Orga­ni­za­tion (ILO) con­ven­tions on child labour (138 & 182) all rec­og­nize the fun­da­men­tal rights of the child, which can be linked to traf­fick­ing in sports as it par­tic­u­lar­ly tar­gets young ath­letes. 2017 marks the adop­tion of the Kazan Action Plan, based on the Inter­na­tion­al Safe­guards for Chil­dren in Sports, where nation­al Gov­ern­ments com­mit to link sport pol­i­cy devel­op­ment to the 2030 Agen­da of the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment Goals (SDGs).

Despite this, there are var­i­ous chal­lenges to address­ing sports trafficking:

• First, the absence of reli­able data;

• Sec­ond, traf­fick­ing in sports can be dif­fi­cult to detect;

• Third, the lack of Gov­ern­ment enforce­ment and poor over­sight by sport gov­ern­ing bod­ies. Pre­ven­tive mea­sures need to be rein­forced at the lev­el of Gov­ern­ments and civ­il society.

We agree with Mis­sion 89 that sports asso­ci­a­tions, Gov­ern­ments, bor­der agen­cies, trans­port com­pa­nies, sport agents and oth­er actors must coop­er­ate and also be trained on the issue of traf­fick­ing in sports. How­ev­er, sports organ­i­sa­tions and asso­ci­a­tions alone do not have the pow­er to tack­le the issue of traf­fick­ing in sports.

The main dri­ving force to com­bat must come from Gov­ern­ments, as they are the only ones who can leg­is­late and pur­sue crim­i­nals. We would like to thank you for your invi­ta­tion, wish you suc­cess in all your efforts, and we would be hap­py to fur­ther coop­er­ate with you.

Nohumantrafficking.orderofmalta.int

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