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UNICEF Red Card Campaign

UNICEF/South Africa/2010


The hosting of the World Cup in South Africa during June and July will attract an estimated 2.7 million local spectators and 450 000 foreign visitors to view the matches in stadiums around the country or on television screens at the ten Fan Fest sites.

Concerns have been raised in public forums and the media about the possible increase in the exploitation and trafficking of children that are expected to flock to Fan Fest sites and other public viewing areas. South African schools will be closed for the duration of the World Cup, which may lead to an increase in the number of unattended children who are at risk of falling victim to illegal and dangerous situations such as commercial sexual exploitation of children, child labour and sexual abuse.

UNICEF, in collaboration with the Government of South Africa, protection authorities and child welfare organisations, want to ensure that foreign tourists, visiting football fans and the public in general are fully aware of anti-child abuse legislation in South Africa. Similarly, children and young people at risk must be made aware of their rights, and know where to go and whom they can trust for protection against abuse and from dangerous situations.

UNICEF and its partners in government, NGOs, the private sector and civil society have worked together on a national advocacy campaign under the banner of the ‘Give a Red Card to Child Abuse and Exploitation’. This campaign aims to provide children, communities and visitors to South Africa with a greater understanding of the potential risks of child exploitation and abuse while reducing the possibility of children to be harmed.

Red Card Campaign

As part of its communication strategy UNICEF developed a series of advocacy materials such as posters, leaflets and electronic messaging with the theme ‘Give The Red Card’ to:

  • make children aware of risks of exploitation by adults
  • provide safety tips and advice to children and parents
  • inform tourists and visitors that child sexual exploitation and trafficking are against the law
  • make the public aware of child trafficking and how to prevent or act against it
  • provide emergency numbers to report incidents of child sexual exploitation and abuse

The ‘Give The Red Card” initiative originated in 2002 when UNICEF sister development organisation, the International Labour Organization (ILO), used the well-known football symbol of the ‘Red Card’ to raise awareness in preventing and eliminating child labour. It was also used during the 2006 World Cup in Germany and the African Cup of Nations in 2009.

The Red Card materials include:

The `Red Card to Child Abuse and Exploitation’ as leaflets and posters aimed at children and young people.
A little Red Card with emergency telephone numbers that will be distributed through civil society organisations, at service stations countrywide, hospitality and travel industry.

The Red Card campaign also targets two other key market segments, namely:

  1. Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) in cooperation with the ILO will target the tourism and hospitality industry to reach fans and travellers to and in South Africa to advocate against commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). It will comprise the distribution of posters, brochures and leaflets.
  2. Tsiriledzani, a joint government campaign on human trafficking, will address the trafficking problem on a wider scale through the National Prosecution Authority and other government channels. Material will include leaflets with strong anti-trafficking messages.

UNICEF, in co-operation with its partners, will also distribute communication material at UNICEF Child Friendly Spaces at Fan Fests, service station outlets, schools, sport festivals, and via print and electronic media outlets and new media.

UNICEF Partners in the Red Card Campaign include:

  • Department of Social Development
  • International Labour Organisation (ILO)
  • National Prosecution Authority (NPA)
  • Fair Trade and Tourism South Africa (FTTSA)
  • Childline
  • Child Welfare South Africa (CWSA)
  • National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW)
  • World Vision
  • TOTAL South Africa
  • Media Partners (True Love, Balfour International, MXit, Saatchi and Saatchi)

Download this Fact Sheet [PDF]

Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) Announces the Winners of the Red Card Campaign Contest

  View and dowload the Red Card Gallery>>

  Return to UNICEF actions to strengthen child protection during World Cup and beyond>>



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