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Celebrating the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace 2021

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) is celebrated annually on April 6. It is a celebration of the power of sport to drive social change, community development, and to encourage peace, respect and understanding.

For Mission 89 the theme for 2021 will be: The contribution of sport to the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 in ending human trafficking.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are internationally set targets that call for countries to promote human rights and have a balanced focus on social, economic and environmental issues. SDG 8 is to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Target 8.7 calls for all nations to “take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour” (UNICEF USA, 2016).

According to ILO, there are more than 40 million current victims of the various forms of human trafficking globally. Human trafficking is the second largest criminal activity in the world and is an enormously profitable industry, making 150 billion USD a year. Likewise, the sports industry is a trillion-dollar business, and the commercialisation of sport has generated a number of lucrative businesses in and around the industry.

Rapid commercialisation and increasing demand for young talent affects supply chains, resulting in forms of exploitation such as sexual abuse and forced labour. Recruitment efforts that aim to scout the “right type” of athlete, one that is cheap to buy and would be profitable to sell or loan, greatly increases the risk of young people being bought and traded as commodities – the very definition of human trafficking.

With the hyper-commercialisation of the sports industry there are increased risks of human trafficking, but sport can play a vital role in prevention, and in enabling sustainable development of vulnerable communities. The UN recognises the growing impact of sport in global peace and development initiatives, in its promotion of tolerance, respect and values of community and participation.

Mission 89 believes that sport can make a powerful contribution to SDG Target 8.7. This contribution encompasses three key elements: awareness, education and partnership. They involve utilising the powerful platform of sport organisations & clubs and the influence of athletes, to raise awareness of human trafficking, as well as educational practices such as mandatory safeguarding and anti-trafficking training for officials working with young people, and forging partnerships with anti-trafficking stakeholders.

It is in this context that Mission 89 commemorates the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on April 6 2021, holding a virtual outreach event under the theme: The contribution of sport to the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 in ending human trafficking.

“We have seen the power of sport to inspire and facilitate positive change the world over. In the last year, the world has witnessed various sporting platforms and athletes using their celebrity to press home the need to uphold human rights for all. We should build on this momentum, harnessing the power of sport, which is one thing that unites us all, to end human trafficking. With this conversation we hope to merge the efforts of various organisations, build new partnerships to push this agenda farther.” – Lerina Bright, Executive Director, Mission 89

The virtual outreach event will be an opportunity to provide an understanding of what constitutes good practice within the policies and programmes promoting the safe employment and migration of young people. Information will be shared on the issue of human trafficking and the main objectives of SDG 8.7, and key speakers will provide their perspective on this Sustainable Development Goal and how the goal relates to their work.

You can join Mission 89 in commemorating IDSDP on Tuesday, April 6 at 18h30 (CET) on Facebook where the event will be livestreamed.


By Holly West, Mission 89



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