5 February 2014
The National Crime Agency has today (5 February) given its support to a new campaign designed to protect Brazilian children from sexual exploitation during this year's World Cup.
It's A Penalty has been launched by charities Happy Child International, the Jubilee Campaign and the A21 Campaign, and is aimed at the thousands of fans heading to the event this summer. It warns them not to pay for sex with children aged 17 or under, even if believing them to be older.
Led by campaign ambassador Gary Lineker, the campaign is also being supported by England manager Roy Hodgson, Alan Shearer and footballers including David Luiz, Frank Lampard and Ramires.
The campaign warns football supporters that those caught having sex with under 18s could be imprisoned either in Brazil or back home.
It includes a short film that will be shown on British Airways flights from the UK to Brazil during the World Cup, and through the Football Association, all 5,000 UK football fans travelling to Brazil will receive information about the campaign.
Sexual violence is the second most reported type of crime against children in Brazil, with the majority of victims aged between 10 and 14. In 2011, 10,425 children and adolescents were reported as having been the victims of sexual abuse, many as young as 11 years old.
The campaign is backed by the Brazilian Government, the Foreign Office, Prime Minister David Cameron, the Football Association, Europol and the Metropolitan Police Service.
Last year the National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Command warned in its annual threat assessment that an influx of visitors to Brazil for the World Cup is likely to expand the child sex market.
Johnny Gwynne, Director of the CEOP Command said:
“The majority of fans travelling to Brazil for the World Cup finals would be horrified at the thought of causing harm to the nation's children.
“Brazilian children suffer abuse in the commercial sex trade and may have their appearance manipulated to look older. They are children, and they are being threatened and intimidated by unscrupulous people to make money.
“The law will not care whether you knew the person you had sex with was underage. If you are in any doubt - don't do it."
Additional advice and guidance will be shared via Facebook - More information about the campaign can be found at www.facebook.com/itsapenaltycampaign and via Twitter - @It’s_apenalty.