Below is a subject that got me in hot water with an SP. My night was ruined.


Concerns Arise Over World Cup Prostitution
May 04 4:15 PM US/Eastern

AP National Writer


The expected World Cup boom for Germany's sex industry has ignited a trans-Atlantic tiff over prostitution, with a U.S. congressman and other anti-trafficking advocates contending Thursday that thousands of foreign women will be forced into sex work during the four-week tournament.

The German government, while defending its policy of legalized prostitution, emphatically denies that it condones human trafficking and says it has intensified efforts to combat it. It also denies claims by some critics that it is subsidizing construction of new brothels.

Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., remains skeptical. He urged Germany to recriminalize prostitution and suggested that it should be reclassified as an "egregious violator" of human trafficking unless tougher steps are taken before the World Cup starts on June 9.

Smith, chairman of the House subcommittee on global human rights, convened a hearing in Washington titled "Germany's World Cup Brothels." Witnesses included representatives from Amnesty International, the International Organization for Migration, and the Angel Coalition, an anti-trafficking women's group in Russia.

Juliette Engel of the Angel Coalition, in her written testimony, said the German government had chosen "to act as an official pimp for the 2006 World Cup _ anticipating millions of dollars in revenues from the exploitation of women's bodies and souls by tens of thousands of male football fans notorious for their drunkenness and violence."

Engel, who said Russian and Eastern European women were Germany's main trafficking victims, described the World Cup as "a human rights disaster in the making."

Germany's sex-industry entrepreneurs have made no secret of their expectation of a boom as hundreds of thousands of visitors arrive for the World Cup. At the four-story, 40-bedroom Artemis brothel which opened in Berlin last fall, manager Egbert Krumeich predicted business _ normally 130 clients a day _ could double or triple during the 32- nation tournament.

Prostitution is legal in Germany, with about 400,000 registered sex workers who pay taxes and receive social benefits. However, the government says forced prostitution is not tolerated and it denies Smith's claim that it is helping build brothels.

The German Embassy in Washington said German federal officials were working closely with regional authorities and nongovernment organizations to combat trafficking and forced prostitution, especially in the 12 World Cup host cities.

Germany's past efforts have earned it a favorable "Tier One" designation by the State Department as one of the countries most vigilant in combatting trafficking.

Smith, however, suggested Germany should be reclassified as "Tier Three" _ a serious trafficking violator _ unless new initiatives are taken before June 9.

He cited estimates that as many as 40,000 women could be brought into Germany to be exploited as sex workers during the World Cup. Some German officials have questioned those estimates.

Smith also dismissed Germany's efforts to raise public awareness of trafficking.

"This is a somewhat absurd effort given that the infrastructure of legalized prostitution allowed in Germany is gearing up to expand its capacity during the World Cup," he said. "I see this as flagrant state complicity in promoting sex trafficking."

Some of the advocacy-group officials testifying at Thursday's hearing spoke favorably of Germany's track record in fighting against trafficking, although they urged it to be extra vigilant during the World Cup.

However, Katherine Chon of the Polaris Project, an international anti- trafficking group, said Germany's legalized prostitution would lead to abuses during the World Cup.

"Where there is a higher demand for commercial sex, traffickers require higher quotas from the women and children under their control," she said. "When the victims are unable to meet their quotas, they face beatings and sexual assault."

In Germany, some private groups are attempting a balancing act, urging a crackdown on forced prostitution while avoiding any attack on legal prostitution.

For example, the National Council of German Women's Organizations, as part of an information campaign, is urging brothel patrons to inform police if they think a prostitute is working under duress.

"We are not campaigning against prostitution, or prostitutes or against the clients of prostitutes _ only against the traffickers of forced prostitutes," said council official Ulrike Helwerth.