Red card for the sexual exploitation
of children at mega-sporting events
Oak supports organisations in raising awareness on child sexual exploitation during and around mega-sporting events.
World Cup frenzy gripped the globe in 2014 and all eyes turned to Brazil during the summer months. Soccer mania reached frantic heights and some 600,000 soccer fans descended upon the country to join in the festivities.
Research has shown that children are exposed to many risks before, during and after mega-sporting events. “Oak has been aware of the risks and opportunities associated with mega-sporting events for many years,” said Florence Bruce, Director of the Child Abuse Programme at Oak Foundation. Risks include sexual exploitation, the displacement of children and their families and child labour.
Oak supports its partners to advocate for change in the bidding criteria of mega-sporting events. They do this by: developing an evidence-base for the impact mega-sporting events have on children; supporting constituencies to lobby for change; and communicating their findings.
Many non-governmental organisations and churches used the occasion of the World Cup in Brazil to raise awareness of the heightened risk of child sexual exploitation in, and around, mega-sporting events. Oak supported Terre des Hommes International Federation to document, through a series of short films, risks and benefits for children around the World Cup. Oak also supported World Childhood Foundation (Childhood Brasil) to engage with public organisations, civil society organisations and the private sector in preventing the sexual exploitation of children and teenagers.
Oak believes in the importance of harnessing events like the World Cup to build awareness around, and call for the eradication of, child sexual exploitation. To this end, Oak has also supported:
Nobody’s Children Foundation during the EURO 2012 Football Cup to raise awareness of child prostitution;
Brunel University to research child exploitation in and around the FIFA World Cup; and
Sonke Gender Justice, which ran media campaigns in South Africa during the World Cup in 2010 emphasising the gravity of the sexual exploitation of children.
Source: Oak Foundation Annual Report
Year of publication: 2014