Published: 13th June 2006
The UK's largest organisation of Christian doctors – the Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) - has raised serious concerns about the potential for the sexual exploitation of young women and girls from developing nations during the World Cup.
Up to 3 million football fans from around the world will descend on Germany over the next few weeks. One of the 'leisure services' provided by the German authorities are dozens of legalised brothels in all the tournament cities which employ between 40,000 – 100,000 women. Most of these women will come from outside Germany.
Although state licensed brothels have strict rules about the use of condoms and ensure the women have access to health facilities, there are real fears that the premium men are prepared to pay for sex without condoms will mean that many unlicensed (and thus unregulated) brothels will also have opened. The vast majority of these will rely on women and even young girls trafficked from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.
Steve Fouch, CMF's Allied Professions Secretary said: “Human trafficking is one of the major global issues of the 21st Century. According to UNICEF, around 1.2 million children and a similar number of adults are trafficked each year around the globe, some into forced labour, many into prostitution. This is not economic migration; this is abducting people or luring them under false pretences into forced labour, often in harsh and dangerous conditions.
“This degrading trade is quite indifferent to the human misery and injustice it causes. When linked to the sex trade, the sexual and mental health impacts of this industry are truly horrifying. The number of these girls and young women that become infected by STDs and HIV is bound to be extremely high, and the potential for the spread of HIV infection to their customers, and from them to their customers' wives, girlfriends and children, is another cause for grave concern. Yet the German authorities do not seem to care less”.
CMF is calling on both the UK and German governments to make it a priority to police the tournament for sex traffickers, and to ensure that women and girls caught in this trade are cared for and supported rather than criminalised. It also wants British football fans travelling to Germany to consider the human cost to themselves, their wives, girlfriends and families in the UK – as well as the women being exploited by the sex industry.
Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 020 7234 9664
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668
Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225
Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.
CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.