Nuns show the red card to forced World Cup prostitution
Catholic nuns are preparing anti-prostitution leaflets to be circulated during the soccer World Cup in Germany, after warnings that the month-long tournament could promote the trafficking of women to serve as prostitutes ñ writes Jonathan Luxmoore for Ecumenical News International.
"Over 800 000 people are sold into sex slavery each year," said Jolanta Olech, president of Poland's Conference of Female Superiors. "In beautiful, democratic Europe, which cries whenever a little dog gets hit, this scourge is being concealed by silence."
The leaflets would be circulated in Polish, Bulgarian, Romanian, Russian and other languages with telephone numbers for women seeking help during the World Cup, taking place in 12 German cities between 9 June and 9 July 2006, Olech noted.
"A woman at risk who has a few seconds to memorise the number can get in touch with us, while those going for the work may think twice," she told ENI. "But the leaflets should also affect prostitutes' clients, so they'll know some of these women have been forced into sex by criminals."
The Roman Catholic Union of European Conferences of Major Superiors had asked national organizations to campaign against prostitution. "Our resources are limited, but we're doing what we can," Olech said.
A campaign against prostitution during the World Cup, which is expected to attract three million sports fans, was launched last February in Berlin, titled "Red Card for Forced Prostitution."
Prostitution is legal in Germany in designated areas, and German newspapers have reported that wooden "sex huts," equipped with condoms and showers, had been erected for the World Cup in Dortmund, as well as in Cologne, host cities for the sporting event.
Ekklesia adds: Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) and Amnesty International have backed action against forced prostitution during the World Cup. They point out that many vulnerable women are going to be ëpimpedí towards Germany to fulfil ëdemandí created by advertising and the ësex hutsí.
Activists stress the importance of concerned parties working together across boundaries of culture, gender, faith and non-faith ñ to emphasise that opposition to the trafficking and exploitation of women is a basic human concern.
People in the forced sex industry are keen to portray opposition as coming only from ëreligious prudesí.
[Also on Ekklesia: Human rights and church groups protest against World Cup sex slavery; Campaigners highlight deaths of street children at UN; Campaigners welcome trafficking raid, but express concern for women]