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Mobilise against prostitution at sporting events!

Posted on 5 June 2012

The European Women’s Lobby believes that sporting events cannot be used as excuses to tolerate prostitution and the demand for sexual exploitation.

Its action ’Be a aport. Keep it fair... Say NO to prostitution’ aims at raising awareness on prostitution at sporting events and offers a concrete opportunity to engage towards equality between women and men:

Find out more here about EWL action ’Be a Sport. Keep it Fair... Say NO to Prostitution’:

Finally, here is a very good research about the links between sport and violence against women in general, including prostitution: Violence against Women and Sport: A Literature Review, EVAW, 2011.

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MEPs supporting EWL action

Posted on 5 June 2012

Anna Hedh, Sweden, S&D: ‘Prostitution constitutes a fundamental violation of women’s human rights and is a form of male violence against women. Thousands of young girls and women are at risk of sexual exploitation and human trafficking to satisfy the demand for prostitution during Olympic Games and the UEFA Euro 2012. Sporting events can never be used as an excuse to tolerate sexual exploitation. A zero tolerance for prostitution, where the purchase of the bodies of women and girls are not accepted, is the only way forward for achieving a society with equality between women and men.’

Mikael Gustafsson, Sweden, GUE: ‘Any big gathering, such as the Olympic Games, is a golden opportunity for exploiters and pimps. In such a moment it is even more important that we as politicians stand up for women’s rights and equality, for sexual freedom and choice for all women, and send a clear political signal that men should not have the right to buy access to women’s bodies for sex - that this is simply not compatible with fair play and equality.’

Nicole Kiil-Nielsen, France, Greens: ‘Prostitution is a form of violence, and doesn’t belong to a society which aspires to equality between women and men. As a feminist, I defend an ideal of society where sex doesn’t determine people’s life.’ / ‘En tant que féministe, je défends un idéal de société où le sexe ne détermine plus la vie des individus. La prostitution est une violence, et elle n’a pas sa place dans une société qui aspire à l’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes.’

Sophie Auconie, France, PPE: ‘En tant que Présidente de l’intergroupe informel « les Amis du Sport » au Parlement européen et membre de la Conférence Nationale du Sport (CNS) au nom des députés européens français, je défends les valeurs propres au sport : le respect, la solidarité, l’effort et la maîtrise de soi. La prostitution représente l’inverse de ces valeurs : c’est avant tout une violence ! Présidente de l’association Femmes au Centre, je ne peux que m’indigner contre cette atteinte aux droits des femmes et aux droits de l’Homme. Les événements sportifs européens rassembleurs que sont les JO de Londres et l’Euro 2012 en Pologne et en Ukraine ne doivent pas être la cause de l’augmentation du trafic des êtres humains destinés à la prostitution. C’est pourquoi je soutiens la campagne du Lobby européen des femmes et « donne un carton rouge à la prostitution lors des événements sportifs ».’

Ana Gomes, Portugal, S&D: ‘Raising awareness on prostitution at sporting events should be an effective way to fight against this hideous form of violence against women. I thus support EWL-sponsored 30th May event. Me, too, I consider prostitution as an obstacle to gender equality. Let’s never forget the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights state that European societies should be characterized by equality between women and men. On the contrary, Europe remains a place where one in ten women is a victim of sexual violence. So the European Union, together with civil society, must do more to change this scandal. Systematic public campaigns such as EWL’s are one great way of dealing with this subject in a comprehensive, lively and appealing way.’

Britta Thomsen, Denmark, S&D: ‘It is crucial to raise awareness about the fact that prostitution and trafficking goes hand in hand especially at the big sporting events. Europe must no longer close its eyes to this problem. I urge the European Community to take action on this matter and actively condemn this horrible violation of women.’

Emilie Turunen, Denmark, Greens: ‘Prostitution is a violation of women’s rights and health and we need to send a strong signal that we do not accept it.’

Mariya Nedelcheva, Bulgaria, EPP: ‘Cette année, il existe un réel risque de recrudescence de la traite des êtres humains à des fins de prostitution et d’exploitation sexuelle autour des Jeux Olympiques de Londres et de l’Euro-coupe UEFA 2012 qui aura lieu en Pologne et en Ukraine. Cette situation est inacceptable et nous ne pouvons nous rendre complices des réseaux criminels organisés. Aussi, nous devons avoir le courage de parler de la pénalisation des clients, car c’est bien eux qui alimentent la spirale du trafic. C’est pourquoi je soutiens la campagne du Lobby Européen des Femmes "Be a Sport, Keep it Fair, Say NO to Prostitution" et je lance un appel aux autorités polonaises et ukrainiennes pour prendre toutes les mesures nécessaires afin de s’assurer que ces manifestations sportives ne soient pas synonyme d’indignité humaine et d’exploitation sexuelle. Enfin, je m’adresse à tous les citoyens et citoyennes qui vont se rendre à ces événements pour qu’ils disent aussi NON à la prostitution.’

Antonyia Parvanova, Bulgaria, ALDE: ‘I fully support the EWL’s campaign "Together for a Europe free from prostitution". Prostitution represents one of the most severe violations of human rights and personal dignity, which unfortunately has been widely trivialized and somehow accepted by society. The phenomenon of prostitution should be analysed and tackled as one category of violence against women. We should not forget that women in prostitution are often exploited, abused both psychologically and physically and put in a position inferior to that of men. The existence of such unequal power relations is incompatible with the principles and values of equality and respect to the personal dignity enshrined in the EU’s founding treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It would be a moral failure on behalf of European society not to address comprehensively the phenomenon of prostitution and ignore the gruesome reality in which men pay to use women’s bodies. This is not the Europe of equality, progress and respect we aspire to live in!’

  • Eva-Britt Svensson (former MEP, Sweden, GUE-NGL)
  • Zita Gurmai (Hungary, S&D)
  • Mary Honeyball (UK, S&D)
  • Sylvie Guillaume (France, S&D)
  • Kinga Göncz (Hungary, S&D)
  • Nathalie Griesbeck (France, ALDE)
  • Marielle de Sarnez (France, ALDE)
  • Constance Le Grip (France, EPP)
  • Nessa Childers (Ireland, S&D)
  • Gay Mitchell (Ireland, EPP)
  • Mairead McGuinness (Ireland, EPP)
  • Phil Prendergast (Ireland, S&D)
  • Inês Zuber (Portugal, GUE)
  • Iratxe García Pérez (Spain, S&D)
  • Claude Moraes (UK, S&D)
  • Fiona Hall (UK, ALDE)
  • Franziska Brantner (Germany, Greens)
  • Mojka Kleva (Slovenia, S&D)
  • Marita Ulvskog (Sweden, S&D)
  • Michèle Striffler (France, EPP)
  • Christel Schaldemose (Denmark, S&D)
  • Emer Costello (Ireland, S&D)
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Individuals supporters of EWL action

Posted on 5 June 2012

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EWL video clip ’Sport, Sex & Fun’

Posted on 5 June 2012

EWL video clip has been directed by Patamo, a French artistic company dedicated to animation. Its director, Quentin Le Guennan, founded it more than ten years ago and has produced many video clips for a variety of partners: TV channels, publications, public institutions, NGOs...

The video clip ’Sport, Sex & Fun’ has been sponsored by the EWL and its French coordination CLEF.

EWL video clip ’Sport, Sex & Fun’ in English

Clip vidéo du LEF ’Sport Sex & Fun’ en français

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MEPs give prostitution at sporting events the red card in support of EWL campaign

Posted on 5 June 2012

MEPs give prostitution at sporting events the red card in support of EWL campaign

[Brussels, 01 June 2012] On 30 May, 17 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from nine countries and all political groups gathered together in Brussels in support of the European Women’s Lobby’s action against prostitution around sporting events. In a message to athletes, officials, fans, journalists and decision-makers ahead of the London Olympics and the UEFA European Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine, the MEPs held up red cards which read ‘Be a sport. Keep it fair… Say NO to prostitution.’

This action is part of EWL campaign ‘Together for a Europe free from prostitution’ which aims at raising awareness on prostitution as a form of violence against women and at engaging decision-makers at national and European level towards policies abolishing the system of prostitution. As part of its campaign, the EWL developed various outreach tools, such as its thought-provoking video clip ‘For a Change of Perspective’. For its event on prostitution at sporting events, the EWL unveiled a new awareness raising tool, the video clip ‘Sport, Sex and Fun’, which questions the links between sport and prostitution and challenges the tolerance for prostitution around sporting events.

During the event in the EP, participants could get a picture of themselves holding up EWL red card. Watch the first photos here! Would you want to be part of this action, please send us a picture of yourself holding up a red card, and sign EWL pledge!

Many journalists attended the event, and there is already some press coverage:

Download EWL press release here and EWL red card in English and in French.

Click here to read EWL Press briefing ‘Be a sport. Keep it fair... Say NO to prostitution’. No excuse for prostitution at sporting events, 29 May 2012.

EWL video clip ’Sport, Sex & Fun’ in English

Clip vidéo du LEF ’Sport Sex & Fun’ en français

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MEPs give prostitution at sporting events the red card - EWL press release and press briefing

Posted on 30 May 2012

MEPs give prostitution at sporting events the red card - EWL press release and press briefing

[Brussels, 30 May 2012] Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from nine countries and all political groups gathered together today in support of the European Women’s Lobby’s campaign against prostitution around sporting events. In a message to athletes, officials, fans, journalists and decision-makers ahead of the London Olympics and the UEFA European Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine, the 20 MEPs held up red cards which read ‘Be a sport. Keep it fair… Say NO to prostitution.’

Major sporting events are regularly coupled with a boom in prostitution, fuelled by the trafficking of women and girls. During the 2006 World Cup in Germany, national authorities noted an increase in the number of prostitutes in host areas. The 2011 South African World Cup brought about a ‘huge’ increase in the sex trade, with the number of women and girls involved in prostitution, as well as the number of brothels, doubling. Research conducted in 2009 already found signs of increases in prostitution in the London boroughs hosting the 2012 Olympics.

The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) holds that prostitution is a form of violence against women which hinders the realisation of equality between women and men. ‘Women in prostitution face regular violence and rape, as well as lower life expectancy and serious mental and physical damage,’ explains Cécile Gréboval, Secretary General of the EWL. ‘The abuse of women’s bodies and sexuality inherent in the system of prostitution feeds into a broader pattern of widespread violence against women.’

Speaking at the event, Viviane Teitelbaum, Vice-President of the EWL, said that raising awareness of the violence inherent in prostitution is crucial as the issue tends to be ‘trivialised’ by the media: ‘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.’ ‘Sponsored sporting events should be the venue to encourage positive and respectful relationships of all kinds, including between women and men,’ she added.

This view of prostitution as violence against women is strongly shared by the MEPs. MEP Anna Hedh (S&D, Sweden), host of the event, calls for a ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards prostitution, and holds that ‘sporting events can never be used as an excuse to tolerate sexual exploitation’. Mikael Gustafsson (GUE, Sweden), Chair of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee, concurs: ‘Men should not have the right to buy access to women’s bodies for sex - that this is simply not compatible with fair play and equality.’

On the sidelines of the visual event, the EWL presented an awareness-raising video clip ‘Sport, sex and fun’. The EWL is also publishing photos of the campaign supporters on its website. Further decision-makers and supportive individuals are invited to sign the EWL pledge and submit a photo of themselves brandishing a red card to the EWL Secretariat: pape@womenlobby.org.

Download EWL press release here and EWL red card in English and in French.

Click here to read EWL Press briefing ‘Be a sport. Keep it fair... Say NO to prostitution’. No excuse for prostitution at sporting events, 29 May 2012.

EWL video clip ’Sport, Sex & Fun’ in English

Clip vidéo du LEF ’Sport Sex & Fun’ en français

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’Be a sport. Keep it fair... Say NO to prostitution’ - EWL visual event in the EP

Posted on 15 May 2012

[Brussels, 15 May 2012] The European Women’s Lobby organises on 30 May a visual event to raise awareness on the scale of and tolerance for prostitution at sporting events. The MEPs who support EWL campaign will gather in the European Parliament for a group photo and give prostitution at sporting events a red card. EWL video clip ’Sport, sex and fun’ will be released at this occasion, and participants will be invited to take EWL pledge for a Europe free from prostitution.

This year, thousands of young girls and women are at risk of trafficking and sexual exploitation to satisfy the demand for prostitution on the sidelines of the Olympic Games in London and the UEFA Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

The number of human trafficking victims in Greece increased by 95% during the 2004 Olympic Games. Ahead of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, predictions were for more than 40,000 women and children to be trafficked into the country to meet the prostitution demands of millions of football fans. During the 2011 World Cup, South African authorities noted a ‘huge’ increase in the sex trade, with the number of women and girls involved in prostitution, as well as the number of brothels, doubling.

Nineteen MEPs supporting the EWL campaign have been invited to gather for a group photo with the EWL red card ‘Be a sport. Keep it fair… Say NO to prostitution’.

Find out more about sport and prostitution on the webpage of EWL campaign ’Together for a Europe free from prostitution’ and click here to see the invitation to the event, which will take place in the EP in Brussels, at 1pm, ASP building. balcony G, 3rd floor.

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