RED LIGHT TO WARN OF DANGER TO OUR KIDS IN 2010 AND STOP IT

Staging the soccer World Cup in South Africa next year could pose a threat to the safety of children and women, a child welfare organisation has warned.

Staging the soccer World Cup in South Africa next year could pose a threat to the safety of children and women, a child welfare organisation has warned.

"As with any event that attracts tourists, there is always the concern that we might not be able to see when children and women are trafficked," said Carol Bews of Joburg Child Welfare.

The organisation launched the Red Light 2010 campaign on Friday to educate school-going children about the dangers of human trafficking.

Bews said the campaign would reach out to schools and churches.

She likened trafficking to "modern-day slavery".

The campaign kicked off with the launch of an anti-trafficking song by local group Inner City Arts Forum, which will be flighted on TV and radio stations.

Group member Bongani Nkwanyana said the song was written in the interest of the safety of children and communities.

Bews said trade in humans was the third most lucrative illegal trade after drugs and arms. She said children were trafficked mainly for child labour, commercial sexual exploitation, adoption and body parts.

Bews warned that children from rural areas could be lured to the cities by the prospect of seeing their football stars, making them vulnerable to traffickers.

Nde Ndifonka of the International Organisation for Migration said: "Whenever there are events of the magnitude of the World Cup, criminal elements tend to exploit them.

"They undertake activities such as human trafficking to meet the demand for labour or sexual services."

Ndifonka said drugs, violence and the seizure of travel documents were often used to detain people who were being trafficked.

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