US religious organisations are gearing up to save London from the mythical hoard of 40,000 trafficked sex workers that travels the world's major sporting events.
The prime movers in the Olympic initiative are Christian Brothers Investment
Services, a US fund manager that specialises in investing the money of Catholic institutions.
The project is also backed by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, a broader US Christian coalition that speaks for investors, and, in the
UK, the Church Investors Group, which encompasses the investments of the Church of England and Church of Ireland.
At the heart of their 'concerns' is the mostly mythical issue of human trafficking, which 'often' takes place for the purposes of
prostitution. Major sporting or cultural events tend to bring in an influx of visitors and these periods have been linked with increases in trafficking, prostitution and sexual assault.
At last year's football World Cup in South Africa and at the
US Super Bowl this year, Christian Brothers and the Interfaith Center fired off letters to publicly-quoted hotel and leisure groups asking them to detail their policies for avoiding association with this sex trafficking thing. After the South African
campaign, hotel chains Hyatt, Accor, Carlson and NH Hoteles introduced training programmes for staff; and Accor, Carlson and NH signed up to an industry code of practice on countering sex trafficking.
At a meeting in Paris last week, Christian
investor groups from around the world agreed to work more closely together. The London campaign will be one of their first joint initiatives. The UK and Irish churches have agreed to begin writing to UK-listed hotel groups - along similar lines to the
previous South African and US campaigns.
In a statement announcing the tie-up, Richard Nunn, the chair of the Church Investors Group, said: It is important we use our voice as investors to hold companies to high ethical standards.