The Deputy Chairman of South Africa's Central Drug Authority (CDA) said last week that it is feared 40,000 women will arrive in the country to work as prostitutes while the football World Cup is taking place there in June and July.
Now less than 100 days away the FIFA World Cup being hosted by South Africa from June 11 through July 11 will be the first occasion on which football's most prestigious tournament has been held on the African continent.
As the Telegraph reports 450,000 people are expected to travel to South Africa from around the world to watch a tournament in which teams representing 32 different countries will compete.
But speaking on Thursday in Pretoria, South Africa's executive/administrative capital, as the annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board was released, David Bayever, Deputy Chairman of the CDA, warned that up to 40,000 sex workers could also be arriving in the African nation.
Stating that it is believed many of those women would be arriving from Eastern Europe, Bayever said too that as school holidays were being extended while the World Cup is taking place he is concerned that children, especially from poor rural families and possibly controlled through drugs and/or alcohol, could be at risk from those who want them to work as prostitutes.
He is quoted as saying by both Independent Online and the Daily News:40,000 new prostitutes. As if we do not have enough people of our own, we have to import them to ensure our visitors are entertained
Confirming that the warning of the possibility of the sex workers' arrival had come via the authorities in the Durban municipality/KwaZulu-Natal, he added:Our youth are going to be on holiday. They are going to be targeted to become prostitutes
According to the Telegraph, which raises the specter of HIV/AIDS, Bayever, whose agency is linked to South Africa's Department of Social Development, has indicated that stricter border controls are being put in place in an attempt to prevent "dubious individuals" from entering the country.
South Africa is frequently reported as having the highest percentage of a population anywhere in the world suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Two separate studies cited by the U.K.-based international AIDS charity AVERT, in December 2009, apparently show that in 2007 28 percent of pregnant women in South Africa were living with HIV and in 2008 10.9 percent of all South Africans over the age of two were living with the human immunodeficiency virus.
An official with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Johan Kruger - National Project Coordinator Southern Africa Development Community (SADC): Trafficking in Persons & Violence against Women Programmes - agrees in part with Bayever's evaluation.
Nevertheless, emphasizing that the drugs trade and human trafficking, largely organized by criminal gangs, were posing problems for South Africa at the present time and would do so after the World Cup is over, he questioned the figure of 40,000 quoted by David Bayever.
Furthermore he observed that similar fears of an increase in human trafficking when Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006 proved unfounded as greater police vigilance actually saw a reduction in trafficking.
Another appeal for authorities not to overstate the problem of human trafficking came from Eric Harper, Director of the non-profit Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT).
He is unhappy about a video clip being shown in South Africa - titled "Stop 2010 Human Trafficking" - in which it is claimed that:
- there are already 100,000 sex workers in South Africa
- 100,000 people will be trafficked in South Africa prior to the World Cup
- Legalizing prostitution/"sex work" increases the problem of trafficking
Asserting that none of those claims could be substantiated Eric Harper commented:Counter-trafficking campaigns are important. Sex slavery is a form of torture with extremely damaging effects and must be stopped, but the extent and reach of trafficking should not be overestimated