Coinciding with the World Against Child Labor Day, the 2014 FIFA World Cup is taking place in Brazil this year and it is important to note the link between these two events. Although children in Brazil below the age of 16 are not supposed to work, about 3 million children below that age are currently subjects of child labor. In 2013, 10,668 violations of children’s rights were largely registered on the Brazilian government’s Secretariat of Human Rights hotline.
During the World Cup, children will be on break from school, making the opportunity to become victims of exploitation and abuse even greater than normal. The Brazilian government, however, has begun to take steps toward improving the situation. In an attempt to preemptively respond to what could be an increased period of abuse by child labor, the government has been raising public awareness, expanding its police force and has supported and approved legislation that categorizes any sort of sexual exploitation of children or adolescents as a “heinous crime,” meaning punishments for these types of crimes will be more severe than ever.
Additionally, in order to address the problem even further, UNICEF just developed an app called Projeta Brasil. Projeta Brasil, also partnered with organizations such as Save the Dream and the International Centre for Sport Security, allows smartphone users to immediately report any instances of child labor or child abuse they may see. The report immediately alerts local authorities about the location, time and circumstances in which the event was witnessed. It also provides the chance for victims themselves to report instances of exploitation. While the app primarily acts as a reporting tool, it also serves to raise awareness about various forms of child exploitation to look out for during the World Cup.
The app puts the power to help in the hands of both Brazilians and tourists alike, and can be downloaded in various languages, such as Portuguese, English and Spanish. If you’d like to download or learn more about the app, you can find more information here.
– Jordyn Horowitz
Sources: UNICEF Connect, Huffington Post, Global March, Projeta Brasil