(Vatican Radio) Millions of people worldwide are victims of human trafficking on a daily basis. As the summer 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro approach, the International Union Superiors General (UISG) organization have launched a new campaign, “Play for Life”.
“Play for Life” aims at raising awareness of human trafficking which increases significantly at large sporting events. The campaign was already used at the 2014 Rio Football World Cup and contributed to a 42% increase in the number of complaints over sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.
Vatican Radio’s Georgia Gogarty attended the press launch where she spoke to former Olympic gold medal swimmer, Massimiliano Rosolino, an ambassador for the “Play for Life” campaign, about why he chose to get involved and what he hopes the outcomes will be.
Rosolino expressed that the importance of the campaign was to encourage people to come forward as we “need the truth or nothing will get better”. He said that he would never have thought that “during such a big event you’d have so many problems with prostitution”.
He stressed that it is imperative that we raise awareness for human trafficking during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and praised the work of the UISG who “fight everyday” against the trafficking of all peoples, especially children and adolescents.
Major sporting events bring with them a number of risks and situations that can be hidden and minimalized and therefore challenge and require a commitment by all to fight them. The conditions favor the deception of people with false promises of more jobs and a better life.
“Play for Life” aims to raise awareness of trafficking in persons and sexual exploitation by strengthening measures of prevention, as well as alerting those in socially vulnerable situations to the greater possibility of being recruited by traffickers during these major sporting events.
The campaign emphasized that sexual exploitation is not tourism, but a serious violation of human rights, and encourages all individuals and organizations to get involved in the fight to respect the dignity of all persons.