Media home

Media home


Press releases

UNICEF in the media

Official statements

Media calendar

Children and the media


UNICEF announces plans to promote protection of children from exploitation during the World Cup

© ILO/South Africa/2010
UNICEF Representative, Aida Girma, with Soccer Legend, Doctor Khumalo at the launch of the report.

PRETORIA, 11 May 2010... UNICEF today applauded the efforts of the South African Government to curtail child labour in the country, but remains concerned about the large numbers of children who may be at risk, particularly on its borders.

“We must be aware that the widespread use of child labour is undermining progress towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.  Child labour denies children their right to proper education and is harmful to their mental and physical development,” said UNICEF Representative Aida Girma, noting that South Africa’s cities serve as poles of economic opportunity in a context of extreme inequality, sub-regional poverty, and catastrophic levels of HIV/AIDS. 

‘While some child labourers such as street children working in the informal economy in border towns of Musina, are highly visible , others are hidden from view and often become vulnerable to the worst forms of child labour, such as  trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.’

Ms. Girma said UNICEF is concerned about the children who may be drawn into harmful forms of work during the world cup period, attracted by the economic opportunities and the excitement of a major sporting event such as the World Cup.  UNICEF is therefore working in partnership with the Government of South Africa, civil society and private sector partners to help protect the most vulnerable children, especially those who are unattended or separated from their caregivers.

Establishment of child friendly spaces
UNICEF and its partners will establish Child Friendly Spaces in four of the FIFA Fan Fests sites in host cities. These sites will to serve as a safe haven for at risk or unattended children waiting to be reunited with their parents or care-givers.  The Child Friendly Spaces will be launched officially at the Fan Fest in Soweto on 9 June.

Training of front-line social workers
To ensure the success of all aspects of the campaign UNICEF, through the Department of Social Development, is facilitating the training of social service professionals from government and NGO sectors at nine provincial training sessions. It focuses on emergency procedures and protocols to respond to children in need of care and protection.

Ultimately, project as a whole will contribute to and help strengthen the country’s child protection system as a legacy of the World Cup,” Ms Girma said.

Giving a red card to child exploitation
A national awareness campaign advocating against all forms of child abuse and exploitation will go live during Child Protection Week, the last week of May. The campaign will include print and electronic communication material, advertorials and point of purchase materials signage featuring the universal theme of “Give the Red Card to Child Abuse”. UNICEF partners will assist in distributing the material among vulnerable communities, children, parents and the tourism industry throughout South Africa.

 ILO/South Africa/2010
© ILO/South Africa/2010
UNICEF Representative, Ms. Aida Girma being interviewed at the launch of the report.

Code of Conduct
A key partner in the information campaign is Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) which will launch of a new project to institutionalize the Tourism Child-Protection Code of Conduct ("the Code") in South Africa in partnership with UNICEF and the International Labour Organization (ILO), which have played an advisory role in its development.

FTTSA, in collaboration with key tourism industry stakeholders will also help focus attention on commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) by distributing material in the tourism sector through hotels, travel and car rental agencies throughout the country.  According to Jennifer Seif, FTTSA Executive Director, leading hotel groups, car hire companies and other tourism businesses in South Africa are ready to play their part to protect children at risk of exploitation.

Community Sports Festivals
Other plans include children’s and community participation in twenty-one community sport festivals which form part of the greater UNICEF Sport for Development Programme during the World Cup. Besides promoting he development of children and young people through sport, the community
festivals will  serve as an information conduit on child, protection information, educating  youth and communities on ways to protect themselves from possible exploitation and abuse.

UNICEF’s child protection actions during the World Cup are conducted in partnership with the Department of Social Development, Fair Trade in Tourism, Child Welfare South Africa, Childline, the National Prosecuting Authority, the National Association of Child Care Workers, World Vision, and TOTAL SA.

Download the press release [WORD] [PDF]

Read the address by Ms. Aida Girma, UNICEF Representative, at the South African launch of the Inter-Agency Report on Child Labour

UNICEF calls for renewed efforts and investment to combat child labour

Accelerating action against child labour. Report of the Director-General, International Labour Conference, 99th session, 2010





Make a donation


 Email this article

unite for children