Human Trafficking and the Olympics
By Pat Zerega, Director of Shareholder Advocacy, Mercy Investment Services
The 2010 World Cup brought great excitement and pride to the people of South Africa. But when I think of that event, I remember being at the 2008 AIDS Conference in Mexico with 20 sisters, bishops and community workers. They were all concerned that women were already being trafficked into the cities where the World Cup games were and trained to be sex workers. This discussion stemmed from efforts to organize local groups to educate the women about AIDS.
Although the stories and statistics around human trafficking for sexual and worker exploitation around sporting events is difficult, we now know these events offer an opportunity to raise the issue, educate large groups of workers and customers and develop new networks around the issue.
As this year’s Olympics approach, Mercy Investment Services has joined our partners at the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and our European partners at the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility to call upon London-area hotels and Olympic sponsors and suppliers to take a public stand and ensure their business operations are trafficking and slavery free.
As you begin to follow the wonderful athletic achievements at the 2012 Olympics, please consider addressing this tragic issue of exploitation by taking action. Take these steps:
1. Visit the human trafficking resources section of the Mercy Investment Services website. You can download a letter to deliver to hotels at which you’re a guest. There are also resources to share with hotel staff and meeting planners.
2. Sign the anti-slavery international pledge.
3. Find out your own slavery footprint and share this site with others to spread the word.
4. Visit the ICCR website and read the latest updates on “Celebration Without Exploitation.” Select “click here for campaign udpates” to see the latest news.