Protecting children during the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola

News and Press Release
Originally published
Angola is preparing to host the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN2010) football tournament later this month and UNICEF is working with its partners to ensure that children are not exploited or endangered in the run up to the event.

Teams from 16 African countries will compete in the event, which runs from 10 to 31 January. Stadiums have gone up in four major cities, and the Palanquinha (the Angolan football mascot) is on display everywhere.

'A festive occasion'

With thousands of fans expected to visit the country during the tournament, UNICEF is part of a joint response with the Angolan Government to protect children from trafficking, sexual exploitation and HIV/AIDS.

"The Africa Cup of Nations is a festive occasion for Angola, but it is also a time where we need to be very alert and support our national partners in their efforts to protect children," said UNICEF Representative in Angola Koenraad Vanormelingen.

Hotels and restaurants in Angola have agreed to a code of conduct on sexual exploitation and citizens are encouraged to use a police hotline to report underage prostitution. The Ministry of Tourism, with support from UNICEF, developed this code and trained more than 4,000 hotel workers to detect signs of abuse.

Immigration officers, who have been trained to recognize trafficked children, will be able to use the same hotline to report irregularities.

Getting the message out

More than 5,000 CAN2010 volunteers have been trained in HIV counseling, and a communication campaign, which encourages Angolans and visitors to 'give the red card' on trafficking, exploitation and unsafe sex, is getting the message out to a wide audience.

"This lead-up to CAN2010 is promising. We have succeeded in placing children and youth as a primary concern during the tournament and there has been good collaboration from all parties. Children must remain an absolute priority during CAN," said Vice Minister of Youth and Sports Albino da Conceiç=E3o.

UNICEF has supported these efforts from the start by signing a memorandum of understanding with the national organizing committee behind CAN2010. Broadly focused on the rights of children, UNICEF has used the agreement as a basis for dialogue and support to the response by the government to keep children safe during the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.