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 World Cup sex-slave fears 
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Post World Cup sex-slave fears
Link to Articles - World Cup Prostitution-Trafficking


This is a big problem that goes under reported. Women, girls, and boys, kidnapped and forced into prostitution. Traded and trafficked as property - treated like animals. Often lured away by some promise of opportunity and then kidnapped, or just snatched off the street.

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With less than a day to go until the first matches kick off in the Soccer World Cup tournament, shops are heaving with World Cup merchandise: football shirts, whistles and scarves.

And then there are the condoms. It may seem reassuring that football supporters travelling to Germany are being encouraged to be sensible, but there is a pernicious side to the connection between the 2006 World Cup and sex.

Alongside the beer tents and burger bars catering for a massive influx of fans to the tournament host country, entrepreneurs are preparing to sell a product already openly on sale throughout Germany: women.

Germany has legalised its sex industry -- Cologne opened the world?s first drive-in brothel in 2001. But with three million foreign football fans about to descend on the 12 cities hosting the tournament, entrepreneurs are laying on special facilities. In Berlin, for example, a 3 000m2 mega-brothel has been built next to the main World Cup venue. It is designed to take as many as 650 customers at any one time. Wooden ?performance boxes??, resembling toilets, have been built, with condoms, showers and parking all laid on.

But where are all the extra women to come from?

In January, the international feminist organisation Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) launched a worldwide campaign to protest against Germany?s promotion and public display of prostitution during the World Cup.

The organisation is worried that about 40 000 women will be ?imported?? into Germany from Africa, Asia and central and eastern Europe. (This figure is based on the number of women needed to fill the additional brothels being set up.)

Some of the women currently working in the sex industry elsewhere in Europe will gravitate to Germany to earn extra money. Although not trafficked, many of these women will be pimped by boyfriends and even family members. Some will send money back to their impoverished families, others will be trying to pay off debts or sustain drug habits. But others, campaigners say, will be more directly forced -- some even kidnapped and smuggled across borders.

There is evidence that Germany?s pimps are casting their eyes on poverty-stricken countries in their search for women for the Cup. CATW says it has received calls from the mothers of Brazilian teenagers lured by traffickers. ?They are being offered all-expenses-paid trips to go to Germany and ?support their country?,?? says Janice Raymond, co-director of CATW.

For the teams involved, prostitution has inevitably become an issue. The French coach, Raymond Domenech, is appalled by the prospect of thousands of prostitutes being imported for the tournament. ?It is humiliating enough for me that football is linked with alcohol and violence,?? he says, ?but this is worse. Human beings are being talked about like cattle, and football is linked with that.??

There have even been calls for the Swedish team to withdraw from the Cup by Claes Borgstrom, the Swedish government?s equality ombudsman, who says he believes the tournament will encourage more men to visit prostitutes.

Sweden has a strong record on prostitution: the country criminalised the buying of sexual services seven years ago after a long-running campaign by feminists, supported by many of its female MPs (who comprise almost 50% of its Parliament). Since then, trafficking into the country has decreased.

McMahon believes that, whether prostitution is legal or not, the FA should be advising fans to stay away from brothels in Germany. ?The FA should put its cards on the table and condemn the international sex industry as abuse. So far the message to women is: ?We don?t give a damn about you.???

?We need to remember we are a football, not a social, body,?? argues Cooper.

But there are social causes on which the FA is prepared to take a line. It has a proud history of campaigning against racism both on and off the pitch, and has supported English players on the receiving end of racism in other countries. ?The FA seem to think women?s basic human rights have nothing to do with football,?? says Heather Harvey of Amnesty International, which runs an international campaign against the trafficking of women and children.

Campaigners against the sex industry say this will make little difference to men eager to add sex with prostitutes to their World Cup experience.

Alina is a woman who knows something about the link between sex and sport. She escaped as traffickers tried to bring her into the United Kingdom from Athens in 2002. She had been abducted from her home in Moscow for the Olympic Games. When the games ended, Alina was considered -?second-hand?? and sold on to another criminal gang, who transported her to London in the hope that she would make money in a brothel there.

?I was worn out, literally used up and spat out,?? she says, talking from a safe house in London. ?During the games I saw hundreds of men ... who thought that a good day was watching sport, drinking and having sex. We were just part of the entertainment.??

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June 8th, 2006, 7:29 pm
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Find the pimps.

Kill the pimps.

Kill the industry.

Easy, right?

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June 9th, 2006, 7:30 am
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Sex Trafficking
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Slavery in America isn't dead. It's actually a thriving industry, cashing in more than $8 million a year. And New York has no law prohibiting this slavery. Nearly 20,000 victims are sold and trafficked every year for purposes of sexploitation. Humans ? traded as a commodity, as if bought and sold on the stock exchange.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says human trafficking is the third largest criminal industry in the world, right behind drugs and gun smuggling. Sex traffickers lure hundreds of thousands of desperate girls from overseas with the promise of a new life, only to enslave them once they've arrived. Some are simply abducted or driven to trafficking by poverty. For most of these girls, staying alive means working as a prostitute or stripping at a local bar. The average age of a sex slave is just 11 years.

We know this is happening, but New York has no law to fight these crimes. That is wrong! Just listen to these women:

Katya answered an ad to work as a nanny in New York City. With stars in her eyes, she was desperate to leave Russia for a better life. But when Katya landed at JFK Airport, there was no nanny job. Instead, two Russian mobsters greeted her. They took her passport and told the Russian hopeful that she owed them money for transportation and housing. Her choices: stripping in New Jersey or working in a Brooklyn massage parlor.

Then, there's Kika, a Venezuelan woman who was conned into coming to New York City by an American man offering her friendship and love. But the ?loving? boyfriend confiscated her passport and money, demanding that she pay off her travel debt. He forced her to work in a brothel with other enslaved girls. When she resisted, he beat her. That first night she said, ?I had sex with 19 men.? But, the worst moment in her three-year hell came when she witnessed the murder of her friend, because the girl refused to service a sex trafficker. When the police came, they treated Kika as a criminal, not a victim. She witnessed a friend's murder and was given no support.

This treatment is pervasive. Victims are often ?invisible? because they are usually isolated and speak broken (if any) English. ?The real tragedy right now is that the law in New York state says that a woman who is being sold in prostitution is the perpetrator of the crime, when in fact, much of the time she is the victim of the crime,? says Jane Manning, an attorney with the human rights organization Equality Now.

How can they come forward for protection when there's no law holding these predators accountable? ?We think that having a law that names the crime of trafficking that is being committed, would help law enforcement officials to recognize this and attack the problem, rather than jailing the victims,? says Manning.

In New York, women are especially vulnerable. The international borders and ports, large immigration population and tourist appeal make the Big Apple a prime destination for human traffickers. In May 2005, officials arrested a New York man for holding a woman as his sex slave. During her servitude, he tied her up and posted her torture on the Internet for the world to see. And that's just the beginning. What makes catching these predators even harder is that local officials are much more likely than federal officials to intercept trafficking rings, but they have no authority under state law to arrest them and protect their victims.

In 2000, Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), but it was underfunded. Not enough money equals not enough law enforcement. Federal prosecutors could only pursue the most high profile cases. Earlier this year, President Bush signed a bill to combat human trafficking, renewing the Trafficking Act of 2000. This is the right move for the federal government. But what about the states?

New York Assembly bill 1898-b, the Anti-Human trafficking Act of 2006 creates strict criminal penalties for human trafficking and assists victims of slavery. Unlike other proposals, this bill defines trafficking broadly; making it more likely such crimes are recognized and charged. Every aspect, from confiscating passports and immigration papers to physically abuse or threatening restraint, would be covered under the new legislation. This bill gives women access to federal, in addition to state, benefits and services.

Although the bill has wide support among lawmakers and women's groups, defense lawyers argue that the penalties ? up to 15 years in prison for offenders ? are too tough. But strengthening criminal sanctions and imposing civil fines is the only way to stop trafficking. Make it too dangerous and costly for sex traffickers to run their business here.

Right now, many predators go unpunished because our laws are impotent or non-existent. It's high time we equip New York (and the U.S.) with the legal armor necessary to stop the sex trafficking of women.

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June 9th, 2006, 8:23 am
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