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Germany's brothels haven't seen more business during the World CupImage: AP

Feared Surge in World Cup Prostitution Proves Unfounded

DW staff (sms)
July 6, 2006

Criticized for not taking the problem of sex trade trafficking seriously enough, a new report shows there has been no marked increase in human trafficking related to the sex trade during the World Cup.


The predictions that as many as 40,000 women would be forced to work as prostitutes during the World Cup did not materialize, according to a report released Tuesday by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Swedish development agency Sida.

"We have so far not seen any marked increase in human trafficking from eastern European countries to Germany during the World Cup," Swedish IOM spokesman Fredric Larsson told the AFP news agency.

German police confirmed that prostitution, which has been legal in Germany since 2002, did not rise considerably during the month-long soccer tournament.

"Before the World Cup there were rumors circulating about a large rush of prostitutes," Cologne city spokesman Jürgen Müllenberg said. "But neither legal nor illegal prostitution has significantly risen."

Fußball, WM 2006, Deutschland, Schweden, Fans, 24.06.2006
Soccer fans haven't had time to visit brothelsImage: AP

Passion saved for the pitch

The millions of soccer fans who descended on Germany have saved their passion for the action on the field rather than in brothels.

"The World Cup is a major party that's rolling through the country, but fans have neither the money nor time to pay for sex," said Stephanie Klee of the German Association of Sexual Services, a group that lobbies for sex workers' rights.

She added that a number of prostitutes decided to go on vacation during the soccer tournament.

"It's going pretty slowly, unfortunately," Sabine Strauss told the dpa news agency. She runs an Internet site where women can offer their services.

Munich, where 300 prostitutes joined the 500 already working there, was the only German city to register an increase during the World Cup.

A campaign to end forced prostitution has been successful

Anti-trafficking campaigns worked

Larsson put Strauss's lack of business down to the success of a large-scale campaign to raise awareness of trafficking and forced prostitution before the World Cup began.

"The campaign has had a positive effect," he said. "It shows we do not need to accept trafficking."

Pressure from the European Union, United States and church groups led to more police raids on sex shops and brothels, which also helped keep legal and illegal prostitution down, according to the report.

The preliminary study's results were based on reports from European police as well as over 20 organizations that work against human trafficking in Germany and Eastern Europe. The complete report is expected to be released in September.

The IOM estimates that some 200,000 people are trafficked into and within Europe every year, the majority of them women and girls for sexual exploitation.

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