Sunday, 9 May 2010

2012 Olympics: The Rise of Tourist Trafficking

As South Africa braces itself for the 2010 World Cup, along with football fans; South Africa's Drug Central Authority estimates 40,000 sex workers will trickle in for the event as well. A reflection of what to anticipate for the 2012 Olympics held in London. Despite the negative outlook that South Africa promotes itself as a country that encourages sex tourism and prostitution, the Serious Organised Crime Agency SOCA expects similar circumstances in two years time.

The government has already expressed fear that the 2012 London Olympics could become a magnet for human traffickers bringing in prostitutes and illegal workers, according to the BBC. The Home Office's action plan says: "There is little doubt that there will be many who will seek to prosper from the Olympics being held in London...Criminal elements are expected to exploit the situation by establishing themselves in London from now on."

The Home Office estimates that there are between 6,000 and 18,000 trafficked women and girls being forced to work as prostitutes in the UK. But the statistics are erratic and it could be more in the region of 25,000 ranging from Eastern Europe, South East Asia and West Africa as reported by the Poppy Project.

With the expected rise in crime, the government are pressing ahead with a building programme which will create an extra 8,000 spaces by 2012. As stated in a 2010 publication, Tessa Jowell former minister for the Olympics: “Major sporting events can be a magnet for the global sex and trafficking industry, this is wholly unacceptable... collectively we are developing a comprehensive plan of action which will build on the considerable expertise the UK has in tackling human trafficking.”

However already, the number of prostitutes working near the main Olympic site in Stratford, east London, has reportedly doubled already since work began on the stadium. And figures from the time of the 2004 Athens Olympics show an increase of 95 per cent in prostitution, with the number of trafficked women increasing from 93 to 181. After the Games the figures in relation to both prostitutes and trafficking remained higher than before. And with an estimated 80,000 people involved in prostitution in the UK, anticipate an unyielding increase for the Olympics.

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