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Sunday, December 11, 2016
Appeal to stop trafficked women being sold for sex at World Cup
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¬†Churches of all denominations are joining forces with other faiths to protest at the news that women, many of them trafficked in from poor countries, will be officially sold for sex at this year's World Cup. The following article to be published in the next edition of Omnibus, the paper of the National Board of Catholic Women takes up the story. Sex slaves - young girls trafficked in from eastern Europe are going to be among those used to provide 'off-pitch' entertainment for football fans at this year's World Cup in Germany (June 9 - July 9). The main venue in Berlin now has a 3000-metre fenced-in area filled with "performance boxes", equipped with condoms and showers and looking like toilets. This 'pitch' will accommodate 650 clients. There is parking provision, with a special focus on protecting 'anonymity'. The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) quotes a lawyer working for the contract as saying: "Football and sex belong together" The sex trade comprises the biggest proportion of the European trafficking industry and Germany's is the biggest in Europe. While some women may be working by choice, many women, trafficked mainly from Albania and other eastern European countries, and classed as 'exotic' in the advertising material, will also be housed there. So while an estimated three million spectators ≠ mostly men, some women and children - and television viewers across the world - enjoy 'the beautiful game', other girls and women will wait in their 'boxes': enslaved merchandise, on sale to help men 'unwind' and celebrate or mourn their team's performance. Since prostitution is legal in Germany, and trafficked women dare not speak, the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual violence done to them day after day, - the violence of forced and repeated sexual abuse - will continue against the backdrop of cheers and chants throughout the competition ≠ violence unheard and unchecked. How many families , how many fans, planning World Cup trips to Germany, know of this? How many men ≠ including Christians≠ will look the other way rather than speak out. Bringing football into disrepute International standards of sport promote equality, mutual respect and non-discrimination. The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) President, J.S. Blatter, acknowledges "the prominent role of sport and especially football, as a vehicle for delivering clear and firm messages to eradicate the huge blights undermining society around the world." How then can FIFA or the F.A. be seen by default to support an industry that ,treats women's bodies as commodities? Trafficked women are not prostitutes ≠ they are merchandise, with no say in either the buying or selling of their bodies. Brought in by traffickers, who often sell them on to others, the money they earn goes direct to their 'owners'. The World Cup, the premier football event, brings people across the world together in enjoyment of sport. To ignore what is happening off-pitch is not good enough ≠ the sex trade will continue to flourish, linked now with the pleasures of 'the beautiful game'. It is vital that authorities, players and fans refuse to bring football into disrepute in this way ≠ and speak out against the blight of sex trafficking that is "undermining society around the world." What can we do? Write to FIFA, the Football Association, Football Supporters Club, the Minister for Sport in Britain and the German Embassy. Ask them to explain what is being done to check that all the women are working of their own free will, without pressure or fear? Write to your bishop asking him to speak out in our churches against this modern slave trade. If you know of fans who are going - or are going yourself - speak out! Speak out in workplaces. Ask men and women how they would feel if they discovered their daughter was a victim of the sex trade?! This is urgent ≠girls and young women are being traded for sex on a huge scale. Addresses: FIFA House, PO Box 85 8030 Zurich, Switzerland email contact@fifa.org German Embassy, Belgrave Square, London. Supporters Direct 3rd Floor, Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, London, WC1 4SE Verena Wright Convenor, Women in the Church Committee
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