02 May 2006

Germany 'facilitating' World Cup prostitution


A US congressman has sharply criticised the German government for not taking enough measures to tackle prostitution during this summer’s World Cup.

Over one million mostly male soccer fans are expected to gather in Germany for the soccer tournament, fuelling fears of an increase in sex trafficking.

As many as 40,000 additional women are expected to be enlisted in the ranks of the 400,000 women in Germany’s legalised sex industry.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Christopher Smith, a republican and chairman of the US Congress global human rights sub-committee, said it was a “disgrace”.

“Germans are rushing to accommodate the trade in women by facilitating the construction of mega-brothels and ‘sex huts’ and cities hosting the games will issue special permits for street prostitution, creating a virtual partnership with brothel owners, pimps and traffickers,” he stated.

Smith urged Germany to change its course and if Berlin fails to do so, he warned that Congress may list Germany as a violator in Capitol Hill’s annual human rights report.

Supporting Smith are some 40 national and international groups, including Evangelicals for Social Action, Russia’s Angel Coalition and the Irish Anti-Trafficking Coalition.

The EU has also seen a need for action and is set to introduce tougher border surveillance to prevent the mass trafficking of women into Germany, especially prostitutes drafted in from eastern Europe.

European justice commissioner Franco Frattini told reporters last week he was confident that the German government is preparing “quite well against this terrible threat”

German leader Angela Merkel is due in Washington on Wednesday for her second official visit since becoming her country’s leader.

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