As the world gears up for sport’s most prestigious event, athletes aren’t the only ones dreaming of gold. Slaveholders are preparing to profit from the Olympic Games by trafficking men, women and children to London this summer.
Slavery is present at nearly every mega sporting event. Sex slaves are exploited by tourists. And many of the products sold to spectators are made by slaves or with slavery-tainted raw materials.
Our U.K. sister organization, Anti-Slavery International, is campaigning to ensure this year’s Olympics are free of slavery. There’s still time to add your name to the Slavery-Free London petition to call on “the government and relevant authorities to ensure that the risks of slavery in connection with the 2012 Games are properly addressed.”
There has been progress in combating Olympic slavery. The Playfair 2012 campaign says organizers of the London games have signed a groundbreaking agreement that helps protect those who manufacture a variety of souvenirs. London organizers have released the names and addresses of factories producing most Olympics goods.
Another group, End Child Prostitution, Pornography, and Trafficking (ECPAT) has called for public involvement to prevent sex trafficking during the Games. They have published a list of hotels that have signed “The Code” intended to protect children from sexual exploitation in travel and tourism. If you’re headed to London this summer, check to see if your hotel has signed on! If they haven’t, send a letter expressing your wish that your hotel take steps to remain slave-free.
These steps will curb, but not end Olympic slavery. It’s important to remember that for many in London, what will happen this July and August isn’t a game.