Petition Closed
Petitioning International Olympic Committee

Olympic Committee Spreading Awareness About Human Trafficking

This petition will be sent to the International Olympic Committee.  We are urging the IOC to use their world stage during the Olympics in order to sponsor public service announcements to spread awareness about Human Trafficking.  Human Trafficking is a worldwide crime that tends to increase during any global sporting event.  The IOC should have some responsibility in maintaining the integrity of the Olympic Games by helping people to understand the presence of this invisible crime.

Letter to
International Olympic Committee
July 20, 2009

International Olympic Committee
Chateau de Vidy
1007 Lausanne

Dear International Olympic Committee:

“Yum-yum?”… “Boom-boom?” These are two questions that child human trafficking victims from all around the world, some as young as 6-years old, ask the johns who are seeking their sexual service. Human trafficking is an invisible social injustice that occurs around the world. So why are we writing to the IOC? Because we believe the Olympic Games can play a positive role in raising awareness to this horrific crime.

Human trafficking is committed when a man or woman recruits, harbors, moves or obtains a person by force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of involuntary servitude, debt bondage or sexual exploitation. It is a crime against humanity, robbing countless people of their dignity, self-worth, and future.

In “21st-Century Slaves”, Andrew Cockburn stated that 27 million people are held in slavery today. This number is greater than the total number of slaves seized from Africa during the four centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. “Modern commerce in humans rivals illegal drug trafficking in its global reach—and in the destruction of lives.” 1

Ulrike Helwerth, spokeswoman for the NGO German Women’s Council, says, “Experience shows that at every big sporting event where a large number of men gather, there is a spectacular rise in the demand for sexual services.” 2 Crime Correspondent, Sandra Laville, disclosed that during the 2000 Sydney Olympics about 10,000 sex workers were operating in the area and in Athens in 2004, there was a 95% increase in the number of human trafficking victims. 3

Kevin Bales, one of the world’s leading experts on modern-day slavery, reports that three things must be present in order to bring people to freedom and to end today’s slavery: public awareness, government enforcement and money.4 We believe that the IOC can help with two of these, as you’ve previously shown involvement in humanitarian projects. Because the Olympic Games is “an event that commands the attention of the entire world for two weeks every other year” and “is one of the most effective international marketing platforms in the world reaching billions of people in over 200 countries”5, we feel that your world stage should be put to use to bring awareness to this global problem. Similar to the 2008 Beijing Games with your “Best of Us” multi-dimensional campaign approach, we are asking that you consider using a similar strategy to educate the world about Human Trafficking, especially involving children and women who are sexually exploited and trafficked.

Regarding government enforcement, most countries already have laws in place against Human Trafficking; however in most countries this legislation is not being enforced. We urge you to make government enforcement of Human Trafficking one of the standards to be met in order to qualify as a host city. Additionally we ask you to encourage your sponsors to take the Free2Work pledge. In doing so, the company agrees to meet certain criteria to ensure that slave labor is not used anywhere in their supply chain. They can find information at

David Batstone, founder of the Not For Sale Campaign declares, “In the course of researching my book, I continually heard that trafficking works because it’s invisible.”6 We encourage the IOC to expose this invisible issue to the world. Only after awareness can something be done. Slaves should not exist in the 21st century.

We are providing you with established organizations that already exist to abolish human trafficking so that you can partner with them to create public service announcements and increase global awareness. For example, Not For Sale has a Free2Play program that supports victims of human trafficking through sports. “Play should be an inalienable right for all children because sports are a valuable part of childhood and staying active has been proven to foster profound effects on ones’ mental, physical, and emotional health.” 7

Call + Response --
Free the Slaves --
International Justice Mission --
International Labor Rights Forum --
Not For Sale Campaign --
Prevent Human Trafficking
The Future Group
*Sabrina Sullivan – regarding the 2010 Vancouver Olympics


Michelle Farfán -
Susan Rice -

“This has to be a top priority…Sadly, there are thousands who
are trapped in various forms of enslavement here in our country…
It is a debasement of our common humanity.”
Barack Obama
Presidential Campaign Forum
August 16, 2008

1 Andrew Cockburn, “21st-Century Slavery”. National Geographic Magazine. September 2003 .
2 Anxela Iglesias, “Germany: World Cup – a Magnet for Forced Prostitution?”, Inter Press Service News Agency, January 2006 .
3 Sandra Laville, “Met Police clamp down on sex trade in five Olympic boroughs”, Guardian, July 19, 2009 .
4 Kevin Bales, “Online Extra: How We Can End Slavery”, National Geographic Magazine .
5 International Olympic Committee, IOC Marketing Media Guide – Beijing 2008, p3.
6 David Batstone, “The Fight Against Human Trafficking Comes to USF”, USF Magazine, Spring 2007 >.
7 “Team Free2Play”, Not For Sale, .