The European Parliament will host a high-level event on Tuesday in Brussels to discuss child trafficking in sport, primarily focusing on football.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of children are smuggled across borders and sold as commodities, including promising young athletes who are trafficked by sham agents promising fame, riches, and an escape route from a cycle of poverty.

With only broad estimates of how many young players, particularly of African and South American origin, leaving their country of birth to pursue an often-false rainbow, it is difficult to determine the true extent of the problem. Young footballers are the most affected.

The event co-hosted by MEP Bogdan Wenta, the European Parliament Intergroup on Sport, and non-profit organisation Mission 89 will bring together victims of trafficking - including former Watford FC player Al Bangura - as well as senior representatives from FIFA, the Premier League, Interpol, the European Football Agents Association, the Italian government, the International Labor Organisation, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the Council of Europe.

“The exploitation of young people in sport - where vulnerable promising athletes are taken advantage of by fake agents with false promises and then abandoned in Europe or Asia - is football’s dirty secret,” said Mission 89 spokesperson Matthew Hall.

“It is a positive sign that many top stakeholders from sport, government, and international institutions will come together in Brussels to discuss the issue and find a pathway to stopping the exploitation of young people and their families. It is important for everyone to say Not In Our Game.”

For more information on this issue, visit www.mission89.org

Categories: News | Football Business

#notinourgame, mission 89, child trafficking, football governance

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