VANCOUVER – A report by a leading counter-human
trafficking organization warns that traffickers may seek to exploit the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver
as a business opportunity.
“There is a real risk that traffickers will seek to profit from the 2010 Olympics,”
said Sabrina Sullivan, Managing Director of The Future Group. “This event could create an increased demand for prostitution,
and also give an easy cover-story for victims to be presented as ‘visitors’ by traffickers.”
The Future Group’s 25-page report entitled “Faster, Higher, Stronger: Preventing Human Trafficking at the 2010 Olympics” outlines measures taken by
host countries of recent international sporting events to prevent human trafficking, and makes recommendations in preparation
for the 2010 Olympics. It is available for download at www.thefuturegroup.org
The report found that the 2006 Germany FIFA World Cup experienced a short-term increase
in demand for prostitution, but that extensive prevention campaigns, immigration controls and law-enforcement action likely
prevented human traffickers from filling that demand. Instead, local prostitutes from elsewhere in the country were drawn
in to host cities.
At the Athens Olympics, where prevention efforts were poor, researchers found a 95% increase in the number of human trafficking victims identified by the Greek Ministry
of Public Safety in 2004. In other words, the number of known human trafficking victims almost doubled in the year of the Athens Olympics. While numerous factors come into play, a certain correlation between
the Olympics and an increase in human trafficking cannot be discounted.
“Canada is playing catch-up since
authorities have yet to convict a single person for the offence of human trafficking,” said Benjamin Perrin, assistant
professor at the University of British
Columbia, Faculty of Law and the lead author of the report.
The report recommends that the federal and B.C. governments devote their counter-trafficking
efforts to deterring traffickers and potential commercial sex users; disrupting trafficking networks and prosecuting traffickers;
preventing human trafficking by identifying victims in transit; and, protecting trafficked persons to help them recover from
their ordeal and decide whether to be witnesses against their traffickers in criminal prosecutions.
“Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Gordon Campbell have shown concern for
human trafficking victims,” said Professor Perrin. “They need to commit together to end human trafficking and
to ensure that the existing problem is not exacerbated by the 2010 Olympics.”
The Future Group is a leading Canadian non-partisan, non-governmental organization founded
in 2000 that specializes in combating human trafficking and has worked with victims in Southeast Asia, West Africa and Latin America.
Professor Perrin is one of Canada’s
leading experts on human trafficking. He has worked directly with victims in Cambodia,
served as senior policy advisor to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, testified before a House of Commons committee
studying the problem, and chairs the UBC Human Trafficking Working Group.
For more information, please contact:
The Future Group
Phone: (403) 612-0396
University of British Columbia
Faculty of Law
Phone: (604) 822-1208
Cell: (778) 928-9327