Sports against human trafficking and for human rights

Human trafficking is a global problem. According to a piece from in January of this year, “the U.N. Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (GIFT) puts the number of victims at a shocking 2.5 million. According to U.N. GIFT, human trafficking affects “every continent and every type of economy.” ‘ The U.S. State Department estimates an even higher number — about 12.3 million adults and children “in forced labor, bonded labor and forced prostitution around the world.’ Every country in the world is impacted in some way by this epidemic.

Whatever the exact figures, the existence of a problem is indisputable. The problem also often garners attention in and around the staging of large supporting events, as laborers (many forced into prostitution) are brought to a country to help stage the event or worse, engage in illegal behavior agains their will.

However, efforts to address it are not absent thanks to the work of individuals, governments, organizations and now even more, companies. We came across a news item that highlights a partnership between those last 2 groups who are leveraging the global power of sport to bring attention to the problem and raise money to combat it.

ManpowerGroup, a world leader in innovative workforce solutions, has teamed up with not-for-profit organization Sport Against Trafficking, to support its Row For Freedom campaign to shine an international spotlight on the issue of human trafficking.

According to the press release, “Row For Freedom is a one-off event that takes place in December 2011 and will see six ordinary girls complete an extraordinary endeavor; to row the Atlantic unaided and attempt a double world record attempt as part of the bi-annual Woodvale Challenge, the world’s toughest rowing race. ManpowerGroup is providing financial backing as well as practical support of a range of pre-row fundraiser events including the Great River Race (17th September 2011), an art auction (Art for Freedom – 11th October 2011) and planned activity with MPs on Anti-Slavery Day (18th October 2011).When it comes to human trafficking, and any problem of this magnitude, sport is not a cure-all. However, as we continually see, sport can leverage its inherent strength and influence, and global presence, to be part of the solution. When partnering up with a global corporation such as Manpower, that influence is surely enhanced.

For more information on Row for Freedom, visit For more information on Sport Against Trafficking, visit