Victoria Hayes


Many members of the international community fear that world sporting events, such as the Olympics and the World Cup, create surges in human trafficking for sexual exploitation, causing women and girls to be exploited for commercial sex while the rest of the world celebrates athleticism and sport. These fears have sparked heated debate about the measures hosting countries should take to prevent human trafficking at these events and the role prostitution policies play in combating human trafficking. In the lead-up to the 2010 Olympics in Canada and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, politicians in both countries proposed legalizing prostitution as a means of combating human trafficking at the events. This Note explores the connection between prostitution laws and sex trafficking, as well as the link between world sporting events and sex trafficking, with specific reference to preparations for the recently completed 2010 Olympics and the upcoming World Cup. Drawing on research about human trafficking at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, this Note argues that specific anti-trafficking efforts are more effective than prostitution policy reform in combating human trafficking. Finally, this Note critiques Canada's anti-trafficking related preparations for the 2010 Olympics and provides general recommendations for strengthening South Africa's anti-trafficking efforts before the 2010 World Cup.