World Cup anti-trafficking measures successful

4th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

4 July 2006, STOCKHOLM - Fears that the World Cup would fuel trafficking and forced prostitution appear unfounded, in part due to the massive attention the issue generated prior to tournament, officials said Tuesday.

4 July 2006

STOCKHOLM - Fears that the World Cup would fuel trafficking and forced prostitution appear unfounded, in part due to the massive attention the issue generated prior to tournament, officials said Tuesday.

"The World Cup is the first and best example of an event where preventive measures were given priority," Frederic Larsson of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

The IOM has, with funding from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), studied the flows of people facing exploitation and presented its findings at a seminar in Visby on the Baltic Sea island Gotland.

Campaigns to warn potential victims were launched a year ago, and along with massive media coverage and police raids on brothels likely contributed to prevent trafficking, said Larsson, who is based in Kiev, Ukraine.

The IOM preliminary report said there was no sign of an increase in trafficking from countries where many victims originate from, including Ukraine, which in 2004 was estimated to be the source of 20 per cent of people trafficked to Germany.

Information was garnered from German volunteer agencies that set up special hotlines for tips on suspected trafficking, police and other agencies.

In the run-up to the tournament, some non-governmental groups claimed up to 40,000 new victims risked being forced into prostitution in Germany.

The final version of the IOM report is due in September.

Prior to the World Cup, Swedish Equal Opportunities Ombudsman Claes Borgstrom triggered a debate when he urged Sweden to boycott the tournament to protest "modern day slavery."

The proposal was not backed by the Swedish Football Association, but both football president Lars-Ake Lagrell and Swedish Justice Minister Thomas Bodstrom urged Swedish football fans who planned to visit the World Cup finals not to pay for sexual favours.

Sweden enacted a law in 1999 which makes it a criminal offence to purchase sexual favours. Swedish law does not punish the prostitute who offers these services.

DPA

Subject: German news

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