Trafficking of people, the Cup crisis that never was


King of de Jungle
Mar 17, 2005

Forty thousand: that is how many cases of human trafficking were predicted to occur during the World Cup.

Zero: that's the actual number of reported cases.

In the months leading up to the World Cup, Minister of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya expressed fears that human trafficking might turn out to be the "dark side" of the celebrations, but experts denounced the fears, labelling them an exaggeration.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said at the time that reports suggesting that 40 000 people were expected to be trafficked into South Africa before the World Cup were a myth.

Later, Chandre Gould, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies and author of a book outlining research about the sex work industry, said no one knew for certain the size of the problem, and charged that the 40 000 figure was "unfounded".

This week, the IOM's Mariam Khokhar said the figure had been nothing but "hype".

She said an increase in human trafficking had been expected in Germany four years ago as well, but it had been exaggerated there, too.

"South Africa has had a problem with human trafficking for a long time now. Suddenly, before the World Cup started, it was highlighted as a big problem. Why didn't it get the attention before the excitement of the soccer?

"In Germany reports also mentioned 40 000 cases right before the tournament started there. But our research showed that there had only been five cases directly linked to that World Cup."

In South Africa, she said, there had been no cases of human trafficking specifically linked to the tournament.

"The initial figure was 40 000. Then it increased to 100 000 cases. We don't know where these figures came from.

"But the problem got attention, and people were made aware of something they may not have necessarily known about. So maybe the hype wasn't such a bad thing," Khokhar said.

It's cos Lolly Jackson was killed before the World Cup! :p