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Anti-Trafficking Efforts Ramp Up Ahead of World Cup

09-08-2014
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A global coalition of religious organizations from 79 countries plans to campaign against human trafficking at next month's World Cup in Brazil.

"In Brazil, our greatest concern is linked to the increase in the exploitation of child prostitution," Sister Gabriella Bottani, an Italian nun, said.

Bottani is one of the organizers of the coalition, made up of 240 congregations around the world.

Organizers say the risk of child exploitation grew 30 to 40 percent during the World Cups in Germany in 2006 and South Africa in 2010 and is likely to spike next month in Brazil.

The campaign, called "Play for Life, Report Trafficking," will encourage people to report suspected child prostitution or enslavement to police. Participants plan to distribute leaflets at airports and popular tourist areas.

"Without awareness, without acting together in favor of human dignity, the World Cup finals may turn out to be a terrible shame instead of a feast for humanity," said Sister Carmen Sammut, president of the International Union of Superiors General.

Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats in Congress are also tackling the problem, with House lawmakers passing five anti-trafficking bills Tuesday.

"This is not an issue that breaks out on partisan lines," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said.

The measures cover a variety of areas, including more money for law enforcement and prosecution, as well as helping the victims of trafficking.

The legislation now heads to the Senate, where it's also expected to gain bipartisan support.

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