BILLIONS of people across the world have been gripped by the World Cup in Brazil as superstars like Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller have dazzled their skills.

But, major sporting events can also see a surge in sex exploitation, as has been seen by a Hereford charity.

Operation Blessing has been on the streets of Brazil to try and raise awareness of the problem that it says is only getting worse.

According to the charity, 6,000 children go missing in the country every year, with many ending up in the sex trade.

"It is a huge issue," said David Darg, vice-president for international relations at Operation Blessing.

"We have seen in previous World Cup events when you have lots of fans going to a single location that there is a rise in sex trafficking.

"Some children have been brought into the World Cup for these purposes."

Operation Blessing, which has a site in the USA, as well as King Street in Hereford, is a humanitarian charity.

While in Brazil, Mr Darg and his team made a documentary called 1Real to highlight sex trafficking.

"We called it 1Real because we discovered children selling sex for 1 Real, equivalent to about 30p.

"You see us going into the red light district and we work with a former pimp who previously trafficked women and he explains his methods.

"We are showing the women that there is a different way and people do care about them."

You can view the documentary by visiting