Letter to VANOC

Mr. Jack Poole, Chairman
VANOC Board of Directors
#400 - 3585 Graveley Street
Vancouver, B.C. V5K 5J5
FAX: 1-778-328-2011

Dear Mr. Poole,

We are members of the Leadership Conference of Les Soeurs de la Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Montréal, a Congregation of more than 2000 members and associates located in Canada, the United States, Japan, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, France and Cameroon.

We request that you do all in your power to ensure that the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics not become a venue for the global trafficking of women and children for the sex trade. It is our fervent hope that preventive actions will be undertaken by you and other responsible authorities in order to ensure that Canada showcases the best of human values that healthy sport can manifest all through these Games.

Reports have noted an increased demand for prostitution during previous Olympic Games. For example, one study has suggested that the number of known human trafficking victims to Greece almost doubled in the year of the Athens Olympics (2004). As well, it was astounding to learn that at the World Football Cup 2006, “performance boxes” designed to accommodate 650 clients of sex workers were built near the main venue in Berlin. Recruiting, trafficking or forcing human beings to prostitute themselves should never be associated with “sport.”

Obviously then, there exists a substantial risk that criminal elements could increase human trafficking to Canada in the lead up to 2010. Trafficked women and even children could be brought to British Columbia for the Olympic Games, and then later exploited in other cities, or transited to the USA.

Nonetheless, it has been proven possible to reduce the attractiveness of human trafficking when preventive measures are undertaken. It is important to deter potential commercial sex users through effective public education campaigns. Trafficking networks can be disrupted through coordinated law enforcement responses. It is crucial that border control agents and police receive the training necessary to be able to identify and respond to trafficked persons, and that appropriately sensitive services be made available to victims.

Mr. Poole, we have noted that some three billion people around the world will be watching the Vancouver Olympics, whose stated mission is “to touch the soul of the nation and inspire the world by creating and delivering an extraordinary Olympic and
Paralympic experience with lasting legacies.”

A great legacy of your organizing efforts could be to inspire the world to stand up to the tragedy of human trafficking, by doing all in your power to eradicate its influence from the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games.

We would appreciate hearing how your efforts are mobilizing those of the larger community and governments in this regard.

We send every sincere wish for truly remarkable Olympic Games, based on VANOC’s stated values of integrity, honesty, respect, fairness and compassion.

The members of the General Conference,
c.c. Mr. John Furlong
CEO, Vancouver 2010