Sports can help rehabilitate victims of human trafficking – UN official

14 October 2009

Sports can play a significant role in helping victims of human trafficking overcome their trauma, a senior United Nations official said today.

“Physical activity and play, if taught and conducted properly, can serve as a very valuable method for rehabilitation and social reintegration into society,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace Wilfried Lemke said in Abuja, Nigeria, where he is attending the 3rd African Union (AU) sports ministers conference.

“Sports can also help traumatized children to forget the misery they went through as victims of ruthless traffickers,” Mr. Lemke said on a visit with UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) representative Dagmar Thomas to the housing and shelter facilities of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition and Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

Mr. Lemke welcomed the joint efforts of NAPTIP and the international community to combat human trafficking in Nigeria.

He also underlined the dangers of exploitation of young athletes in regions throughout the world and expressed support for “the valuable work” of governments and organizations that combat such exploitation, citing the Association Culture Foot Solidaire that aims to protect young footballers from trafficking and exploitation.

 

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