Texas Rep. Kay Granger draws attention to sex trafficking at 2010 World Cup
By Melanie Mason
With audiences worldwide gearing up for the 2010 World Cup, Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, wants to direct attention to one of the seamier elements of the games.
Granger introduced a resolution in the House that calls for South Africa -- the home of this year's month-long tournament -- to fight sex trafficking of women and children, an ugly byproduct of the upsurge in tourism to the country. Half a million people are expected to visit the country during the course of the games, which start on Friday.
"Any time you have a great big event with people coming from all over the world - it can really attract this sort of thing," Granger said.
Granger has been involved in the issue of human trafficking since 2005, when she traveled with a congressional delegation to European countries like Moldova and Greece. Upon her return, she co-founded the Congressional Caucus on Human Trafficking, which she now co-chairs.
Granger said the efforts of law enforcement in South Africa could offer lessons for another major sporting event in the future, albeit one closer to home: the 2011 Super Bowl, to be held at Cowboys Stadium.
"The police departments already have trafficking units, and they're preparing for Super Bowl," Granger said.
The resolution also commends the South African government for its first two successful convictions in human trafficking. Granger said those convictions, along with other visible crackdowns on trafficking activities like advertisements, would demonstrate that the government in South Africa was taking the necessary steps to prevent sexual exploitation.
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