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Sporting venues urged to ’show red card’ to prostitution

Published in TheParliament on 30 May 2012, by Martin Banks

Member states have been urged to "show the red card" to the sex trade at this summer’s big sporting events, including the Olympics and the Euro 2012 football championships.

A campaign aimed at cracking down on the sexual exploitation of women at these and other similar events was launched in parliament on Wednesday.

The European Women’s Lobby, which is behind the initiative, predicts an influx of "sexually trafficked" women to London for the Olympics and Poland and Ukraine, co hosts of the Euros.

Support for the drive came from UK Socialist MEP Claude Moraes who told this website the issue was a "major" problem.

He said, "It is right the EU is trying to raise awareness of this at the present time. We have learned from experience that major sporting events like the Euros and Olympics act as a magnet for traffickers."

The EWL has produced red cards which read "Be a sport. Keep it fair… say no to prostitution" which it wants distributed at the events.

It says research in 2009 already found signs of increases in prostitution in London boroughs hosting the Olympics.

During the 2006 World Cup in Germany it says national authorities there noted an increase in the number of prostitutes in host areas.

Speaking at the launch, EWL vice president Viviane Teitelbaum said many were expecting a boom in the sex industry when thousands of football fans hit Ukraine and Poland in the coming weeks.

She said experience had shown that any sporting event where large numbers of people congregate results in a "temporary and spectacular" rise in demand for sexual services.

She added, "The concept that sporting events are some kind of testosterone fest where boys will be boys is based on an outdated, macho vision of masculinity."

Another MEP backing the campaign is Swedish Socialist Anna Hedh, who called for a "zero tolerance" policy towards prostitution.

She said, "Sporting events can never be used as an excuse to tolerate sexual exploitation."

Her comments were echoed by Swedish GUE member Mikael Gustafsson, who said, "Men should not have the right to buy access to women’s bodies for sex."

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