TIP Award Year:
2015 Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award (USSA)
Jean Claude Mbvoumin was a soccer player from Cameroon. He came to Europe to play soccer as a young man, and his experience witnessing other youths who had done the same, and the fraudulent recruiting that brought some of them there on inadequate documents or without actual positions. He noticed that there were a significant number of young African boys who were in France, and were abandoned by the agents who brought them there. Many did not have immigration status, nor did they have any way of providing for themselves. Even when they were first brought, or recruited, they were often not paid the wages they had been promised. If they were, it was a small fraction of the wages that they had been assured upon recruitment. Mr. Mbvoumin created the Association Culture Foot Solidaire (CFS) in order to raise awareness about these practices, and to prevent more youths from falling prey to the traps of fraudulent recruiters.
This process specifically leaves a significant number of African youths open to trafficking situations. In 2007, his Association brought together various parties, including other NGOs and government officials, to discuss this problem in soccer recruiting. Mr. Mbvoumin successfully lobbied FIFA, the Federation of International Soccer Associations, to strengthen protections for minors within the football club recruiting system. He was given a Trafficking in Persons Award in 2008 in recognition of his efforts to combat these practices. He continues to raise awareness of this issue, and to attempt to help African countries combat the problem at its source through their own soccer programs.
In the 2014 TIP Report, France was listed as a Tier 1 country. It is primarily a transit, and destination country for both sex trafficking and forced labor. The government of France combats trafficking effectively, but women are still trafficked for sexual purposes from Eastern Europe and Africa, and forced labor happens in some immigrant areas.