AIMS, the IOC recognized umbrella organization and Mission 89, a research, education, and advocacy organization dedicated to protecting children’s rights, teamed up to launch a collaborative program designed to combat human trafficking in sports through preventative initiatives and education. The research of Missio 89 seeks to provide evidence-based data to influence policy and decision-making processes in the sector of child-trafficking.

The program consisted of 3 online sessions held across time zones to ensure maximum global participation. The sessions saw over 500 participants from the IOC, national and international organizations, sport federations and NGOs in which the participants gained crucial insights towards  safeguarding measures within the sports landscape.

Lerina Bright, CEO of Mission 89, praised the AIMS initiative and the sheer number of participants outlined the importance and need for a united stance towards combat human trafficking in sports. Lerina Bright said: ” We have come a long way since our inception in 2017. Human trafficking is one of the world’s most horrendous crimes and human rights violations exploiting vulnerable youth and their families. Without awareness, education, and the dedication to understand the mechanisms underlying this criminal network, we cannot take any steps to better protect our youth, the world’s most precious and valuable resource. Over the course of this series, we have seen the efforts made by the international sport community and we are most grateful. To the AIMS family and the IOC, both your support is crucial. “

Dr. Monique Esmer, delivered the workshops and serves as an advisory member on the G-100 Women’s anti-human trafficking wing for South Africa and is a member of Mission 89’s international scientific research committee. Dr. Esmer stated that the interactive seminar showed the seriousness of the various stakeholders and the crucial roles they play to prevent human trafficking.

Dr. Julie Gabriel, AIMS Vice President, who leads the commission on Social Responsibility in the AIMS family, opened the final workshop with a clear message of unity across the AIMS Family towards this global crime of modern-day slavery. Dr Julie Gabriel said: ” The AIMS family are beyond grateful for the important role Mission 89 represents within the sport pyramid. As the leading organisation in sport fighting the exploitation of young athletes through social and economic transformation, this series is a vital step towards better protecting our youth.” 

AIMS President Stephan Fox, thanked each and everyone who contributed towards this model with the intention to not only educate the international sporting community but to also esure more action is taken utilising the preventative measures shared. Mission 89 and AIMS have a longstanding cooperation between the two organizations, with a goal to ensure all AIMS members are well informed on their responsibility towards preventing human trafficking in sport. 

With the closing of a successful series, both organizations closed by thanking all participating delegates and in particular the IOC for all their support. With Paris 2024 around the corner, security and safety is paramount as excitement builds.