SOCCER/FOOTBALL LEGEND: 40,000 prostitutes enter the country hosting the FIFA World Cup.

Soccer/Football Legends Revealed #4

This is the fourth in a series of examinations of soccer/football-related legends and whether they are true or false.

Let’s begin!

SOCCER/FOOTBALL LEGEND: 40,000 prostitutes enter the country hosting the FIFA World Cup.


Let me know if this sounds familiar to you. A country is worried about “the invasion of ’sex-workers,’ who are expected to flood the country next year to cater for male soccer fans” while “The event’s organisers are expecting at least 40,000 prostitutes to descend” on the country to meet demand.

If you said that that sounds like discussions surrounding this year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa, you would basically be correct. Those quotes generally do describe the mood in South Africa regarding the influx of prostitutes via trafficking rings (to get such large numbers of incoming prostitutes, trafficking rings involving forced prostitution would have to be involved). However, those quotes are actually from five years ago, in an article by Tony Paterson for The Independent in reference to how Germany was going to handle the “invasion” of prostitutes to the 2006 FIFA World Cup that was held in Germany.

But if you look at an article last month Continue reading


SA Report:Trafficking focus takes light off other issues


Claims exaggerating the danger of human trafficking during the Soccer World Cup have resulted in the sidelining of other important social issues, the University of the Witwatersrand’s forced migration studies programme has found.

Programme director Professor Loren Landau said that despite “alarming” radio and television advertisements, there had been little evidence suggesting high volumes of human trafficking in South and southern Africa.

“Nor does local or comparative evidence indicate that a major sporting event is likely to increase these volumes,” he said in a statement. Continue reading

Zimbabwe: The Curse of Child Prostitution

Vimbai Komani
10 April 2009

Harare — THERE is a saying that politics is the second oldest profession in the world and it is just as sordid as the oldest.

Of course, this is not a very flattering thing to say about the practitioners of the profession called politics because the world has seen its fair share of principled, dedicated and people-centred politicians.

Despite the centrality of politics to global affairs from time immemorial, it certainly does say something about prostitution that some people find it as arguably a more interesting topic of discussion than governance, administration and the other bureaucratic humdrum associated with politics.

And as the oldest profession has spread across the globe, it has tended to rope into its ranks younger and younger practitioners, making it cause for concern for anyone who cares about children’s rights. Continue reading

WEST AFRICA: But is it really trafficking?

Photo: Phuong Tran/IRIN
Young girl in Benin’s largest market in Cotonou. Whether she is an economic migrant or victim of trafficking is central to a study of children’s migration in West Africa

LOME, 6 January 2009 (IRIN) – For years children’s rights groups have been fighting child trafficking in West Africa. Now, some of those groups are questioning how children have benefited from anti-trafficking interventions as they launch a project to understand children’s perilous migration throughout West Africa.

The nearly one-million dollar initiative led by UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), International Organization for Migration (IOM), and NGOs Plan International, Save the Children Sweden, and Terre des Hommes will conduct national and regional workshops and focus groups to produce a 2010 report on the reasons behind children’s regional migration. Continue reading

UN: HIV and International Labor Migration





International labour migration—the movement of people across national borders for employment—is an increasingly important aspect of global, regional and national economies. Recent estimates indicate that 86 million people are international labour migrants.1 This policy brief focuses on the HIVrelated needs and rights of international labour migrants,2 regardless of their status as regular or irregular,3 or the duration of their migration.


Migrant workers benefit from increased employment opportunities. Origin and destination countries both benefit, the former as remittances are a reliable source of income and the latter because of the important contribution labour migrants make to the economy and society in which they live.4 Yet migrant workers experience particular HIV risks and needs, which must be addressed in striving towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services by 2010.5


International labour migration and HIV risk


Social, economic and political factors in origin and destination countries influence the risk of HIV infection of international labour migrants. These include separation from spouses, families and familiar social and cultural norms, language barriers, substandard living conditions, and exploitative working conditions, including sexual violence. The resulting isolation and stress may lead migrant workers to engage in behaviours, e.g. unsafe casual or commercial sex, which increase HIV risk. This risk is exacerbated by inadequate access to HIV services and fear of being stigmatized for seeking HIV-related information or support.6


Female migrant workers may be particularly vulnerable to HIV. Many are employed in relatively unskilled jobs within the manufacturing, domestic service or entertainment sectors, often without legal status and little access to health services. They are often susceptible to exploitation and/or physical and sexual violence, in some cases by their employer, and have few alternative employment opportunities. Women left behind by their spouses, faced with the same economic challenges, and other challenges besides (e.g. food insecurity) that contributed to their husband’s migration, may be forced to exchange sex for food or money and thus become vulnerable to HIV. They may also be at risk if their husband returns infected with HIV.7


International labour migration and people living with HIV


International labour migrants who acquire HIV in transit or destination countries, or who are already living with HIV, often cannot access HIV services. Migrant workers rarely have the same entitlements as nationals to insurance schemes that make health care affordable, particularly if their status is irregular.


Culturally and linguistically appropriate HIV programmes are often scarce in host countries; additionally migrant workers may be living in geographically isolated areas (e.g. construction and mining sites) with little provision of health services.


More than 60 countries restrict people living with HIV from entering or remaining in a country for any purpose; international labour migrants may be refused entry or face deportation if they are found to be HIV-positive.8 Where HIV testing occurs in the context of migration, internationally agreed standards for informed consent, confidentiality and counselling are not routinely applied.9 Migrant workers receiving antiretroviral treatment in the destination country may also have their treatment disrupted by deportation, if, in the country to which they return, they cannot access HIV services.


The main government rationales for HIV-related travel restrictions are to protect public health and to avoid excessive health care and other economic costs perceived to be generated by HIV-positive non-nationals. There is no public health justification for such restrictions. HIV is not transmitted casually and everyone, whether HIV-positive or -negative, national or non-national, can prevent further transmission by practising safer behaviours. Thus, travel and migration by HIV-positive people in itself does not entail a risk to public health.


Given the economic benefits of international labour migration, and the extended productivity of people living with HIV from improved therapies, it is increasingly difficult to argue that people living with HIV will incur more costs to the destination country compared to the benefits they contribute over a long-term stay. Where refusal of entry or deportation is based on HIV status alone, these measures are discriminatory and unwarranted.


Policy position


The 2001 United Nations General Assembly Special Session Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, adopted by all Member States, calls for “national, regional and international strategies that facilitate access to HIV/AIDS prevention programmes for migrant and mobile workers”. Addressing HIV among international labour migrants will also contribute towards reaching the universally agreed Millennium Development Goal and target of halting and beginning to reverse the spread of HIV by 2015.


International labour migrants have the same human rights as everyone else,10 and HIV status in itself is not an indication of fitness to work. Migrants workers, irrespective of their HIV status, can and do make important economic and social contributions to both origin and destination countries. To maintain this, they need access to culturally and linguistically appropriate HIV programmes in origin, transit and destination countries at all stages of migration—before departure, on arrival, while in the destination country, and upon return and reintegration into the origin country.


States retain the right to determine who enters their country, so long as their policies are consistent with international human rights norms. Yet international labour migrants, whether in regular or irregular status, should have the same human right to health as nationals. Promoting migrants’ health is essential for achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support, besides improving the productivity and economic independence of individuals and families.


Effectively addressing HIV requires both HIVspecific actions and actions aimed at the root causes of HIV risk behaviours, including poverty, gender inequality and human rights violations among international labour migrants in both regular and irregular status.11 UNAIDS, the International Labour Organization and the International Organization for Migration urge partners in origin, transit and destination countries to collaborate on the following actions.


Actions for governments

  • Ensure that national laws recognize the right to health for international labour migrants and do not create barriers to accessing health and HIV-related services.
  • Include international labour migrants in national development, health and HIV-related policies, strategies and plans.
  • Ensure, through funding public health services, nongovernmental and private organizations, that international labour migrants and their families (including those left behind) have the same access as nationals to gender-, language- and culturesensitive HIV services.
  • Integrate HIV services into pre-departure, postarrival, return and reintegration processes.
  • Ensure there is no discrimination on the grounds of HIV status in the context of entry requirements, immigration, employment or reintegration procedures12, and where testing is done to assess future health-care costs, ensure HIV infection is treated equally to comparable health conditions and not singled out as a basis for discrimination.
  • Ensure that laws, policies and programmes respect the rights of both workers living with HIV and international labour migrants and their families.
  • Enforce minimum national labour standards for both nationals and non-nationals.
  • Collaborate to implement regional strategies for addressing HIV-related issues among international labour migrants.


Actions for workers’ organizations


  • Promote sound HIV workplace policies.
  • Support the formation of associations by international labour migrants, their inclusion in existing organizations, and the incorporation of HIV-related issues into programmes implemented by these bodies.
  • Support efforts to eliminate discrimination both against people living with HIV and international labour migrants.
  • Advocate ratification and implementation of international conventions on migrant workers.

 Actions for businesses


  • Develop and implement sound workplace policies in line with the ILO Code of Practice on HIV/AIDS and the World of Work.
  • Reduce financial costs for migrant workers in sending remittances to their families and communities.


Actions for civil society


  • Support international labour migrants to access HIV-related services and broader appeal mechanisms, e.g. migration, labour or human rights boards.
  • Establish gender-, language- and culture-sensitive HIV programmes for international labour migrants and their families.
  • Conduct and disseminate research on international labour migrants and HIV risk,
  • Advocate for equal treatment of international labour migrants and nationals, and challenge stigma and discrimination against migrants, including that perpetuated by the media.

 Actions for international partners


  • Support national AIDS programmes, civil society and other organizations, in origin, transit and destination countries, to provide health and HIV-related services to international labour migrants, including those in irregular status.
  • Conduct and support research on migration and HIV to inform policies and programmes.


First Person Voices


Brian Brink, Senior Vice President – Medical, and Edward Bickham, Executive Vice President, External Affairs, AngloAmerican

AngloAmerican is a global leader in mining and natural resources. Labour migrants, including those from surrounding countries, constitute a significant proportion of our workforce in South Africa.


We maintain a strict policy of non-discrimination between migrant and local workers. Since 2002, all employees have been encouraged to seek voluntary counselling and testing, and if HIV-positive are eligible for wellness programmes and free anti-retroviral treatment. We have made good progress in moving away from a hostel system and towards providing family-friendly accommodation or housing allowances, so that migrant workers can bring their families with them if they wish.


If AngloAmerican didn’t provide these programmes, we would have faced the premature death of many workers and been party to a humanitarian disaster. Instead, our HIV programmes are now largely self-funding via reduced absenteeism and skills loss, and because 95% of employees on treatment are fit to do their normal work. A good HIV response represents, quite simply, good management practice.


Marianito D. Roque, Secretary of Labor and Administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), Philippines


OWWA is the lead Philippine government institution looking after the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). In 1995, OWWA conceived and implemented a Medical Care Program for overseas Filipino workers and their families. In 2002, OWWA responded to the rising incidence of HIV among OFWs by strengthening its information campaign against HIV and providing other related services throughout the migration process.


Applicants must receive information on HIV before they can be issued clearance to work overseas. OWWA assists OFWs by ensuring that foreign employers respect contract provisions, including health-care benefits. Repatriated OFWs are provided with personal, economic and community reintegration services and encouraged to undergo voluntary HIV counselling and testing. These services are free.


Working abroad is full of challenges and threats – and one of the threats is HIV. We must help ensure our OFWs come home with success stories and are HIV free; after all, their sacrifices help keep the Philippine economy afloat. We must likewise assist them deal with the consequences if they do become HIV-positive.


Ana Avendaño, Associate General Counsel, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)


AFL-CIO is a voluntary federation of 56 labour unions, representing 10 million people of every ethnicity and walk of life across the United States.


In 2002, AFL-CIO adopted a policy in support of legalizing the status of undocumented workers and their families in the United States. If there are exploited workers, this leads to substandard wages and conditions for everyone. Currently, migrant workers in both regular and irregular status have little access to health and HIV services, and are often forced to use emergency departments when in need of care.


AFL-CIO never asks a worker to reveal their immigration status when they come to us for help. As unionists, we must focus on the rights of all workers, regardless of their status. We must also continue, with other international partners, to find trade union-based strategies for addressing HIV.


A longer version of this policy brief is available at

1 International Labour Conference, 92nd Session, 2004. Report VI. Towards a fair deal for migrant workers in the global economy ILO Geneva
2 This policy brief does not focus on internal migrants and trafficked persons, while recognizing they also have similar risk factors for HIV
3 Migrant workers are considered undocumented or in irregular status if they are not authorized to enter, stay and engage in remunerated activity in the State of employment (Article 5, International Convention of the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families 1990).
4 Beath A (2007). Migration. In: Goldin I, Reinert K, eds. Globalisation for development: trade, finance, aid, migration and policy. World Bank.
5 2006 Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. Article 20.
6 Asia Pacific Migration Research Network, UNDP (2004). No safety signs here: research study on migration and HIV vulnerability from seven South and North East Asian countries; UNDP; Anarfi J (2004) “Women’s migration, livelihoods and HIV/AIDS in West Africa” In: Women migrants and HIV/AIDS: an anthropological approach UNESCO Paris
7 CARAM (2004).The forgotten spaces, mobility and HIV vulnerability in the Asia Pacific – abridged version; CARAM, Kuala Lumpur; Brummer, D (2002) Labour migration and HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. Geneva, Regional Office for Southern Africa, IOM.
8 For further information on specific country requirements see Global Database on HIV-related Travel Restrictions,
9 CARAM (2007). State of health of migrants 2007: mandatory testing CARAM Kuala Lumpur
10 These include the right to work (Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and the right to a healthy and safe working environment (Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).
11 All actions should be in line with An ILO code of practice on HIV/AIDS and the world of work (2001), the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (1990), the International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and human rights(2006); ILO (2005) Multilateral framework on labour migration; non-binding principles and guidelines for a rights-based approach to labour migration; Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97); and Migrants Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention, 1975 (No. 143).
12 UNAIDS does not support mandatory testing of people under any circumstances, see UNAIDS & WHO (2004). UNAIDS/WHO policy statement on HIV testing UNAIDS and WHO Geneva

Oldies: Japan: Running the sex trade gantlet

The Japan Times: Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2003
Voracious sex market and lax laws encourage abuse

It could be a scene from most neighborhoods in urban Japan but it happened to be mine in Hashimoto, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Weary male commuters file through the ticket barriers of the JR Yokohama Line greeted by half a dozen leggy beauties carrying fliers for a local bar called “Partner.”

Speaking in broken Japanese, the women zeroed in on salarymen who looked unsteady on their feet as a stocky man wearing shades and too much gold jewelry hovered in the background, giving orders.

Bigger versions of the flier with its promise of “Filipino Women Galore!” and its subliminal message of easy sexual opportunity can be found on billboards for bars and nightclubs all over Hashimoto and neighboring Sagamihara.

All questions to the women about their working conditions and lives in Japan were redirected to “Mr. Yamanouchi,” who, not surprisingly, refused to comment.

Many of these women come to a country where a good tip can be worth the equivalent of a week’s wages in the Philippines.

Some walk the tightrope between the flirting that is a job requirement and the prostitution that lurks on the fringes of their profession, while also avoiding obstacles that include unscrupulous employers, violence and police harassment, and somehow manage to save or send money home.

Those that don’t sometimes end up at Friendship Asia House Cosmos.

Battered and bruised

Set in a secluded part of Chiba, the facility provides refuge for about a dozen women from the Philippines, Thailand and other Asian countries who often arrive battered and bruised from whatever life in Japan has thrown at them.

The smiles, short skirts and bronzed skin on display at Hashimoto Station have been replaced here with baggy, shapeless clothes, dull complexions and wary expressions. Sari (not her real name) had arrived a few weeks previously with her two children, fathered by a Japanese man.

“I was recruited in the Philippines by a broker who said I would be working as an entertainer and would have my own apartment and short hours.

“When I got to Nagano I found myself with 10 other women in an 8-mat room, and we worked every day from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. for an allowance of 2,000 yen a week.

“The other girls said the boss was Yakuza and when he threatened me I ran away to Tokyo and then to Uwami, but always things were the same. I met a “tekiya” (stall) owner and married him. I just wanted to get away but he beat me so I came here.”

Women escaping from bad experiences into bad marriages are not uncommon, says Misao Hanazaki, who set up Friendship Asia House in 1991 to accompany her orphanage next door.

Terrible cases

“We’ve had some terrible cases,” she says. “A Filipino woman ran into problems and was locked away in a detention center for two years while her visa case was being sorted out, leaving her children to fend for themselves.”

Despite the recession, Japan still has Asia’s largest and most voracious sex market, one that has sucked in as many as 150,000 non-Japanese women, mainly from the Philippines and Thailand, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The sex industry likes foreign workers for the same reason every other industry likes them: they’re cheaper and willing to do jobs few others are, says Takashi Kadokura, an economist with Dai Ichi Life Research Institute, who recently set the size of Japan’s “entertainment trade” at a staggering 2.37 trillion yen (2001).

Filipinos, Thais and increasingly Chinese and South American women can be found doing everything from pouring drinks in karaoke and hostess bars to offering cut-price sex massages. The boundaries between many of these services intersect and the pressure to please the customer is intense.

A survey by U.N. researcher Sally Cameron found that 19 of the 20 subjects she interviewed were “forced to engage in sexual practices in their job.”

Cameron says her personal “bug bear” is Japan’s “entertainer visas,” which are stamped on about 40,000 Filipino passports a year.

“There are very few people with this kind of visa actually doing this sort of job,” she says.

“The regulations are stringent and the visa is meant for use only by professional singers and dancers, but many Filipino women are still being brought to Japan on entertainer visas in conditions that are blatantly contrary to their visa conditions.

“The government said it would crack down on illegal categories, but there are still enormous numbers of workers coming in. The entertainment industry is huge and it’s fundamental and the government is not interested in changing that or in creating the legal infrastructure to fight this.”

But the government points to the arrest and trial of former travel agent Koichi Hagiwara as evidence that it is cracking down on illegal practices in the industry.

Not taken seriously

Hagiwara, who police say earned 10 million yen a month as a broker for women like Sari, is up on charges of forcing two Colombian women to engage in prostitution.

But campaigners point to Hagiwara’s earlier conviction in 1999 for similar offenses, when he received a suspended sentence and a puny 300,000 yen fine as evidence that Japan is not taking the problem seriously.

“There’s no antitrafficking law in Japan,” says Keiko Otsu, director of Asian Women’s Shelter Help in Tokyo, which provides help for women who are forced into prostitution.

“The problem is just starting to be recognized in Japan.

“The police use the Prostitution Law and only arrest the foreign women, who they blame, not the men. Local police in particular do nothing because they do not recognize that many of these women are trapped.”

In a typical incident, a Columbian woman was coerced into Japan, told she was 5 million yen in debt and forced to work off her debts in a strip joint in Yamanashi.

She had her passport confiscated and was beaten, raped and tied up before she fled to Tokyo.

It’s not the worst case.

Mrs. Otsu says a 13-year-old foreign girl was recently found working in a brothel in Yokohama.

Hanazaki-san’s biggest worry is the children who are being born here in increasingly large numbers to foreign women of indeterminate visa status.

“Many of these women are living in fear of their visa being cut off, so they keep their children out of school.

“We’re building up a lot of problems. What will all these kids do when they grow up without abilities or qualifications?

“The government has to change the law to either accept more people or, if they’re illegal, send them home.”

Assistance for Minors Rescued from Sexual Exploitation

Posted on Friday, 25-01-2008
Ghana – IOM has been asked to lend support to the Ghanaian government in providing care and assistance to a group of minors rescued from a brothel in Ghana on 19th January following a police raid.More than 160 women and girls were taken to an initial shelter for preliminary screening following the raid on the eve of the African Cup of Nations tournament being hosted by Ghana. Some of the women and girls were pregnant and others had babies.

The majority of those interviewed were adults who were not identified as victims of trafficking and were released by the police following registration by the Department of Social Welfare in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs and other government authorities.

However, 14 girls under the age of 18 and four babies are now receiving comprehensive care and rehabilitation assistance including food, clothing, counselling, medical screening and treatment as well as recreational activities at another shelter.

A medical team will carry out detailed medical screenings at the weekend in order to define a comprehensive treatment for the girls and babies.

Although it is not yet clear how the girls had ended up in the brothel, most of the women and girls registered from the raid had come to Accra from various regions in Ghana with their brothers, sisters, uncles, or other relatives in order to engage in petty trading, learn a trade, attend school, or seek new opportunities. Some said they had come to stay with their uncles, but had left because they were being maltreated.

The operation – the largest ever carried out in Ghana to protect potential victims of human trafficking – was undertaken by the Criminal Investigation Department of the Ghana Police Service in close collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs. The Ministry has been mandated by the 2005 Ghana Human Trafficking Act to coordinate all efforts among national taskforce members to prevent and combat human trafficking in Ghana, including protecting child victims who have been trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation.

Following the signing of a tripartite agreement with the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs and the Department of Social Welfare, IOM is providing financial and technical assistance to help support the rehabilitation of the girls and babies at the centre through IOM’s Global Assistance Fund for trafficking victims, an emergency fund made available by the US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

For further information, please contact:

Jo Rispoli
IOM Accra
Tel: (233) 21-508-698/9 or 21-518-413/4 

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