For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Screams Hidden by Cheers: Labor Trafficking Concerns Amidst the 2026 World Cup Games and Beyond


In 2000, Congress enacted the Trafficking Victims Protections Act. Since then, all fifty states have enacted anti-trafficking legislation to assist in the fight to eradicate the highly dangerous, clandestine crime of human trafficking. While the media portrays human trafficking in a certain light, these depictions actually make it more difficult for the general public, law enforcement, and victims them-selves to identify human trafficking. Two forms of human trafficking exist: sex and labor trafficking. Although labor trafficking is equally as serious as sex trafficking, it remains widely misunderstood and largely under prosecuted. Even the federal government acknowledges the United States’ lack of labor trafficking prosecutions despite its pervasiveness. Considering this, instances of human trafficking tend to increase during major events that attract large crowds, including sporting events. The recent labor exploitation atrocities that occurred in FIFA’s 2022 Qatar World Cup Games demonstrates the rapid need for countries to address labor trafficking concerns.

Philadelphia will host part of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Games, which will be hosted jointly by sixteen cities across Canada, Mexico, and the United States. In preparation for the 2026 World Cup, Pennsylvania should use this event as a platform to increase protections for its workers, and to educate and raise awareness of labor trafficking occurring within the Commonwealth and beyond.

Accordingly, this Note proposes Pennsylvania enact new legislation to focus on eradicating labor trafficking, with special attention to the hospitality and restaurant industries, as the rise of visitors from across the United States and all over the world will likely lead to increased human rights abuses in these areas.