“Portugal is a paradise for human trafficking,” says Joaquim Evangelista, president of the Players Union. A harsh sentence that alerts us to a situation little or not known. The leader adds, “Since they want the local club to win (…), everyone turns a blind eye to this. Some may disagree because, fortunately, as proven by the recent investigation of the SEF – Foreigners and Borders Service, some have their eyes open.
The BS Sports company, a soccer academy, and the now resigned president of the League’s General Assembly, Mário Costa, will be under investigation for the crime of human trafficking, and the former leader has already been charged. Here, I repeat as many times as it takes, everyone is innocent until a court finds them definitively guilty. And an investigation is not even an accusation.
One hundred fourteen young people, aged between 13 and 22, from third countries, would be integrated into BS Sports, where “besides the lack of teachers and conditions in the building, they would be obliged to hand over their identification documents to the security guards, they would not be able to leave the premises unaccompanied and, at night, they would be locked in their rooms,” reports RTP. For this, the young people or their families would pay monthly fees of between 600 and 2000 euros.
Article 160 of the Penal Code states that “whoever offers, delivers, recruits, entices, accepts, transports, lodges or shelters a person to exploit (…) labour (…) will be punished with a sentence of 3 to 10 years. Which can even, with aggravating circumstances, be aggravated by one-third.”
In addition, the Basic Law of Sport also states, in article 3, number 1, that “the sporting activity is developed in compliance with the principles of ethics (…). There is no doubt that the law repudiates human trafficking. What about society?
Laws are not enough; society must condemn and denounce these severe behaviours. You can’t close your eyes, because it’s good for your club because it helps you win, making people happy. Part of the problem lies in how sports, mainly soccer, are organized.
The termination clauses also create the issue. We are in the crazy season of the transfer market. It is about selling and buying rights that, in practice, are people, a modern form of servitude. After all, the freedom to work, guaranteed by the Constitution, is not respected here.
You will say: but we are talking about millionaires; what’s the problem? Unfortunately, the problem is not the transfers in the news but those that involve minors, young and often poor athletes, coming from countries with serious difficulties. This is where the police and sports authorities have to act.
Today the right to the goal goes to the SEF, who did an excellent job and freed those young people from the trafficking of their lives, from the trafficking of their dreams.
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