THE staging of the Fifa World Cup has resulted in an increase in the number of unaccompanied minors who travel to South Africa, a non-governmental organisation has said.
Bertha Chiguvera of the Refugee Children's Project (RCP) in Musina, Limpopo, said yesterday the organisation had noted a "slight increase" in the number of children who travel alone to South Africa in search of job opportunities associated with the World Cup.
Chiguvera said the RCP's staff has encountered about 100 unaccompanied minors since the start of the World Cup on June 11. She said the organisation usually saw about 10 minors a day, though the numbers varied everyday.
"They come for job opportunities, and some travel for adventure. They are attracted by the prospect of finding piece jobs or begging," said Chiguvera.
She said the children would look for work on neighbouring farms, though they would also travel as far as Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Despite the awareness that the World Cup had generated about the perils of human trafficking, the centre had not reported more cases, Chiguvera said.
Wits University's Forced Migration Studies Programme (FMSP) said "undue emphasis" was placed on the perceived risk of an increase in the levels of trafficking, though there was little evidence to suggest it.
"The claim that trafficking is linked to large-scale sporting events is based on the belief that events which attract large numbers of tourists - especially male tourists - increase the demand for paid sex. This supposedly increased demand is then assumed to be filled through women and children trafficked for sex," FMSP said yesterday.