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In response to reports that 40,000 young women will be brought to Germany from Central and Eastern Europe to “sexually service” men attending the World Cup soccer championship next month, a Catholic group warns that many are desperately poor and will be “sex trafficked” against their will.
The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, or C-FAM, has launched a “Stop World Cup Prostitution” campaign on its website.
An estimated 3 million soccer fans – mostly men – are expected to descend on 12 German cities for the quadrennial sports event June 9 to July 9. Prostitution is legal in Germany.
Most of the women are told “they are going to be models, waitresses or some other harmless occupation,” says C-FAM. “Many will be brutally assaulted by intoxicated fans.”
The group comments: “Whatever their circumstances, each and every one of these young women is someone’s daughter, a child of God and deserves our protection! They do not deserve to be exploited and sentenced to a life of misery to satisfy the sexual appetites of soccer fans.”
What “makes this crime particularly appalling,” adds C-FAM, “is the open support it is receiving from the German government. The same government that likes to lecture America on morality!”
The Catholic group is far from alone in its condemnation of the mass prostitution campaign. Before German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to the White House earlier this Month, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R.-N.J., said: “It is an outrage that the German government is currently facilitating prostitution and we believe women who will be exploited will be treated as commodities.”
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Brunhilde Raiser, director of the National Council of German Womens’ Organizations, said: “Forced prostitution has yet to become a public issue of concern as a severe violation of human and women’s rights. Our goal is to bring it as far up the political agenda as possible.”
Even Sweden’s “equality ombudsman,” Claes Borgstr?m, has reportedly called for a boycott of the World Cup by the Swedish team to highlight the problem.
Because the German red light districts are too small to accommodate the soccer fans, the country’s sex industry has built a massive prostitution complex, including a “mega-brothel” in Berlin, next to the main World Cup venue, that can accommodate 650 male clients.
Wooden “sex huts” or “performance boxes” have been built in fenced-in areas the size of a football field, with condoms, showers and parking and a special focus on protecting the customers’ anonymity.
Some sources estimate that as many as 30 percent of the soccer fans will visit prostitutes at least once.
The Catholic group is collecting names on a petition to be delivered to the German missions to the U.N. and European Parliament, German Embassy in the U.S., members of the German Parliament and the governing body of the World Cup.
In December, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that strengthens the nation’s current human trafficking law and authorizes new funds for investigation and prosecution of domestic trafficking within the United States.
Each year, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders, and millions more are trafficked internally. Worldwide, more than 3,000 traffickers were convicted last year.
A report issued in 2004 estimated 10,000 people in the United States are being forced to work against their will under threat of violence. Researchers found that almost half of forced laborers are in prostitution or the sex industry, close to a third are domestic workers, and one in 10 works in agriculture.
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