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Global religious network vows to fight child prostitution and human trafficking at World Cup

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    Sister Carmen Sammut wears a necklace with a cross over a t-shirt reading: "Play in favor of life, Denounce the human trafficking" as she attends a press conference at the Vatican, Tuesday, May 20, 2014. A global network of religious orders against human trafficking has announced a campaign during the upcoming World Cup in Brazil to draw attention to risks that the event will encourage an increase in child prostitution. Sister Gabriella Bottani, an Italian nun, said the "greatest concern is linked to the increase in the exploitation of child prostitution," but that such major international sporting events also attract human traffickers who trick people into cheap or slave labor. She noted that the risk for exploitation grew by 30 percent to 40 percent during the world cups in Germany and South Africa. As part of the campaign organized by Talitha Kum, members will hand out leaflets at airports and key tourist areas encouraging people to report suspected child prostitution or enslavement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) (The Associated Press)

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    Sister Carmen Sammut wears a t-shirt reading: "Play in favor of life, Denounce the human trafficking" as she attends a press conference at the Vatican, Tuesday, May 20, 2014. A global network of religious orders against human trafficking has announced a campaign during the upcoming World Cup in Brazil to draw attention to risks that the event will encourage an increase in child prostitution. Sister Gabriella Bottani, an Italian nun, said the "greatest concern is linked to the increase in the exploitation of child prostitution," but that such major international sporting events also attract human traffickers who trick people into cheap or slave labor. She noted that the risk for exploitation grew by 30 percent to 40 percent during the world cups in Germany and South Africa. As part of the campaign organized by Talitha Kum, members will hand out leaflets at airports and key tourist areas encouraging people to report suspected child prostitution or enslavement. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) (The Associated Press)

  • Vatican World Cup Child Prostitution -3.jpg

    Sisters Estrella Castallone, left, and Gabriella Bottani sit in front of a screen reading: "Play in favor of life, Denounce the human trafficking"during a press conference at the Vatican, Tuesday, May 20, 2014. A global network of religious orders against human trafficking has announced a campaign during the upcoming World Cup in Brazil to draw attention to risks that the event will encourage an increase in child prostitution. Sister Gabriella Bottani, an Italian nun, said the "greatest concern is linked to the increase in the exploitation of child prostitution," but that such major international sporting events also attract human traffickers who trick people into cheap or slave labor. She noted that the risk for exploitation grew by 30 percent to 40 percent during the world cups in Germany and South Africa. As part of the campaign organized by Talitha Kum, members will hand out leaflets at airports and key tourist areas encouraging people to report suspected child prostitution or enslavement. ( AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) (The Associated Press)

  • Brazil Football for Hope Festival-4.jpg

    Ronaldo, Brazil's former soccer player, second left, plays soccer during the launch event of the Football for Hope Festival 2014 at the Caju slum complex, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The festival also known as the Social World Cup, brings together 32 teams of young leaders from FIFA-supported social community projects from Brazil and around the world for an intercultural exchange and a tournament. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) (The Associated Press)

  • Brazil Football for Hope Festival-5.jpg

    Residents watch from their windows, Brazil's former soccer player Ronaldo play soccer with children during the launch event of the Football for Hope Festival 2014 at the Caju slum complex, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The festival also known as the Social World Cup, brings together 32 teams of young leaders from FIFA-supported social community projects from Brazil and around the world for an intercultural exchange and a tournament. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) (The Associated Press)

A global network of religious orders against human trafficking announced Tuesday they will campaign against a feared rise in child prostitution during the World Cup.

"In Brazil, our greatest concern is linked to the increase in the exploitation of child prostitution," said Sister Gabriella Bottani, an Italian nun who is an organizer of the coalition involving 240 religious congregations from 79 countries.

She said international sporting events attract human traffickers, who trick job-seekers into slave labor and also kidnap children for illegal adoptions or forced begging.

Bottani said the risk of child exploitation grew 30 percent to 40 percent during the World Cups in Germany in 2006 and South Africa in 2010, and would be likely to spike again during the monthlong tournament starting June 12 in Brazil.

The campaign titled "Play For Life, Report Trafficking" will involve nuns and others handing out leaflets at airports and key tourist areas in Brazil encouraging people to report suspected child prostitution or enslavement to police.

"Without awareness, without acting together in favor of human dignity, the World Cup finals may turn out to be a terrible shame instead of a feast for humanity," said Sister Carmen Sammut, president of the International Union of Superiors General, another of the member organizations.

The umbrella group organizing the campaign is called Talitha Kum, an Aramaic expression that the Bible says Jesus used when commanding a young girl to rise from the dead in the Gospel According to Mark.

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Online:

http://www.talithakum.info/