Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Have you gotten caught up in the excitement of the 2010 World Cup? Are you soaking up each match as nations battle it out in the Group Stage, vying for a coveted spot to progress to the second round? Have you immersed yourself in World Cup trivia and player stats and even learned about South African culture (with your vuvuzela in hand)?
Whether you’re actively following the soccer games or just happen to catch headlines splashed across the news, almost everyone is at some degree aware of the global rivalry playing out across our TV screens.
At The Salvation Army, many of us have also enjoyed watching the games in our spare time – I was more than just a little happy to see the United States tie with England on Saturday! But The Salvation Army’s interest in the games extends beyond a mere competitive spirit.
The Salvation Army has been working in the communities of South Africa since 1883 to provide feeding programs, homes for babies and children with HIV/Aids, shelters for homeless people, community development projects, and much more.
But of more recent concern surrounding the 2010 World Cup is an increase in human trafficking. This, unfortunately, is many times an unintended consequence of major sporting events which draws a huge influx of tourists and an immense demand for sexual services. Additional factors specific to South Africa also contribute, including widespread poverty and relaxed visa requirements.
The Salvation Army is passing out ‘Red Cards’ at the 2010 World Cup as a part of our anti-trafficking campaign.
Therefore, The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory has been working tirelessly for more than a year to ramp up their anti-trafficking campaign in anticipation of the 2010 World Cup. Its focus is twofold: Prevention and Awareness.
* Prevention: The Salvation Army is hosting Holiday Clubs and soccer clinics to keep children off the streets, providing them a safe place where they will be less vulnerable to fall prey to traffickers. Safe houses for women and children are also available.
* Awareness: The Salvation Army has spent the past year and a half educating communities on the threat of trafficking through conversation and teaching. We also launched a toll free number 08000-RESCU (73728), which is a hotline for both victims of trafficking as well as a platform for community members with ‘tips’ about trafficking in their neighborhood.
During the World Cup we are handing out ‘Red Cards’ warning against trafficking, as well as advertising our message on soccer balls, vuvuzelas, and water bottles.
The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory is also engaged in other outreach activities during the games, including street ministry, soccer clinics, Kids Clubs, and their usual community programs.
To learn more about how The Salvation Army is working to assist South Africans and make the 2010 World Cup safer for everyone, click HERE.
You can also visit The Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory’s website at http://www.salvationarmy.org.za/.