Post-World Cup Statement

Janice G. Raymond August 1, 2006 Germany

On June 14, 2006, several days after the World Cup Games had begun, the German Embassy in Washington, DC released a statement minimizing the predictions that the World Cup Games would result in an increase in trafficking and sexual exploitation. This statement was given to reporters and others in response to the negative publicity that anticipated an increase in sexual exploitation and trafficking during the Games.

One month after the Games have ended, CATW is issuing a preliminary commentary in response to the statement of the German Embassy, reports of governmental authorities, the ?first findings? of an International Organization of Migration (IOM) pilot research project on trafficking at the Games, and also in response to media accounts that claim no increase in trafficking or the demand for sexual exploitation during the Games. As more evidence becomes available, we hope to add to this initial commentary.

1. Police and German authorities state there is no proof that corroborates any of the figures about thousands of women predicted to be trafficked into Germany for the World Cup Games.

Before the Games, official sources acknowledged that the number of those in prostitution in Germany is 400,000 (M. Jurgen Wohlfarth, Administrative Director of the Municipality of Saarbruck, Germany. Madrid, June17, 2004, ?Les Villes Face a la Prostitution). It has also been estimated by many sources that 90 percent of women in the sex industry in Germany are from foreign countries (M. Jurgen Wohlfarth, Administrative Director of the Municipality of Saarbruck, Germany. Madrid, June17, 2004, ?Les Villes Face a la Prostitution).

Early on, German NGOs (e.g., Solwodi, the largest organization providing services to victims of trafficking) and media statements warned of a potential increase in 40,000 women entering Germany to sexually service sports fans during the Games. CATW accepted this estimate since it represented a conservative increase of only 10 percent of the widely-accepted estimate of 400,000 persons currently in prostitution. An increase of 40,000 women was thought to be a reasonable prediction also given the preparations of the German sex industry which, in anticipation of the Games, was opening/enlarging more prostitution venues and expanding its publicity.

Post-Games reports contend that no such increase took place. But it has been widely reported, and confirmed by the Munich police, that the number of women in the licensed sex clubs there went from 500-800 ? an increase of 63 percent. Other reported increases in the demand for prostitution in Berlin and Cologne are noted below. 

2. German authorities provided alleged evidence that prostitution did not increase considerably during the Games. 

The major proof that German police and other authorities offer for the claim that prostitution did not increase during the World Cup Games is their monitoring of the brothels and sex clubs. As acknowledged by German authorities, the police mainly carried out searches to look for women without legal entry papers. Given that large numbers of women in the sex venues are from countries in Eastern Europe and the Baltics that are now part of the European Union, they can easily be moved by pimps and traffickers among countries in the European Union legally. Looking for evidence of trafficking, mainly based on women without legal documents, is an outdated strategy in a Europe that increasingly is without national borders.

Women with legal papers still may have been trafficked. Most foreign women who are prostituted and trafficked and end up in the brothels of Germany do not have the financial wherewithal to subsidize their own travel, documents, and ?job placement.? In other words, they did not get there on their own resources. 

Reports prior to the Games indicated, for example, that young girls were being recruited from Brazilian schoolyards to go to Germany ? all expenses paid ? allegedly to root for their national team. Schoolyard recruiting is a tactic, often used by traffickers, to draw unsuspecting girls into the sex trade. Local women in prostitution in parts of Africa also reported that attempts were made to organize and subsidize their transportation and documents so that they could be prostituted in Germany during the World Cup Games.

Police have little knowledge of who constitutes the 90 percent of foreign women in German sex venues during normal times and how they arrived there. This lack of knowledge casts doubt on police reports that prostitution did not increase, and that few women were trafficked into Germany for the Games. 

NGOs and trafficked women in German brothels report that there are many women in the legal brothels who are trafficked. It has also been reported that Dutch johns are openly discussing, in an internet forum, the fact that many women in the German FKK clubs (sex clubs where women are nude) have been trafficked and are controlled by pimps (http://www.ijsberenforum.nl/forum/showthread.php?t=1775).

Police reports about prostitution and the Games had little to say about the prostituted women who were not in the legal venues during the Games. Most of the 90 percent of foreign women in prostitution in Germany during normal off-Game times, especially those with fraudulent documents, end up in illegal venues or on the street. They are usually not available to police monitoring. 

Furthermore, most German men solicit prostituted women on the street, in spite of the existence of legal venues, or go elsewhere for sex tourism. Germany has large numbers of male sex tourists who flood the border areas in countries such as the Czech Republic where they have been widely implicated in the buying of children for sex. Likewise, it has been reported by European NGOs that numbers of sports fans followed this pattern of buying sex from women on the street or in illegal venues to preserve anonymity, to access women they fantasize as more exotic, to obtain children, or to pay reduced prices.

3. Post-Game statements of the German authorities focus on alleged low numbers of women who were trafficked into the German sex industry. Few reports focus on the number of men who used the brothels.

Some media reports spotlighted the increased demand for prostitution during the Games. Sex industry entrepreneurs predicted a 30 percent boom in sex buyers. This increase in male buyers appears to be validated by several reports. One report stated that ?sex workers in Berlin have gone into extra time and are doing double shifts to cash in on the mega event.? Thus, even if no additional women ? trafficked or otherwise -- were brought into the legal sex venues, reports stated that ?clients were virtually queuing up to get into the host nation?s ?freudenhauser? (literally, joy houses).? There are 400 ?joy houses? in Berlin. One taxi driver was quoted as saying that customers he had ferried into Berlin?s red light district were turned away because the places were full. One brothel keeper said that ?the demand had gone through the roof?We have VIP reservations right through to the end of the tournament. Sometimes we don?t know where to put all the men?We are earning as much in one day as we normally would in a week? (Reported at http://sport.indiatimes.com/soccerarticleshow/1648770.cms

Likewise, a spokesman for Pascha in Cologne, Europe?s biggest brothel, reported that ?We are working at 100 percent capacity and could do more if we had more space? (Reported at http://msnbc.msn.com/id13505066/).

4. German authorities claim that no special prostitution venues were set up for the World Cup Games. 

The German Embassy reported in June that ?No such facilities [referring to ?sex huts?] were created specifically for the World Cup, as has been falsely reported.? Instead the Embassy told us that the creation of these facilities was a ?special project? carried out in a few German cities several years ago in cooperation with NGOs who were ?mostly church-run organizations,? but also city authorities, ?to shut out pimps as a measure to protect the women. These facilities give the women a safe environment?? 

As reported by Andrew Curry, a Fullbright Journalism Fellow writing from Berlin in June, 2006, ?Brothels have been opening in host cities like spring flowers, temporary trailers (generously dubbed ?performance boxes?) have been built near some cup stadiums?? Perhaps the contradiction here resides in the fact that such brothels and temporary trailers don?t meet the German Embassy?s criteria of what constitutes a ?sex hut?? Or could it be a translation problem? Or could it be a problem of the common ?sex work? perception that brothels actually are places that protect women?

5. German post-Game reports emphasize that 40,000 women were not ?forced? into prostitution during the Games. 

The problem with the German system of legalized prostitution and the emphasis on ?forced? prostitution is the lack of recognition that economic, social and psychological conditions make many women vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Victims of sex trafficking are not always kidnapped, nor are they forced in the reductionistic sense of having a gun held to their heads. Many are deceived, and many are vulnerable to the tricks of traffickers. 

Furthermore, when police or NGO representatives ask women in brothels if they have been forced or trafficked, do they really expect that prostituted women will say ?yes?? This strategy is not environmentally conducive to getting at the truth of women?s situations. 

Just as ineffective was the campaign conducted by German women?s organizations and other NGOs called ?Responsible Johns.? In literature translated into 4 languages and distributed around the stadiums where the Games were being played, the campaign encouraged (what one author called ?drunk, horny?) men to abstain from sex if the prostituted woman says ?she has extremely high debts with the owner of the brothel,? or ?she is being exploited,? or she ?tells you that she is being forced into prostitution.? In case this full disclosure has some translation problems, the German NGO literature recommends that the man bring a dictionary with him! Finally, they recommend that it would also be nice if the buyer gave the woman his cell phone to call the authorities.

6. Germany says that the Federal Government ?in no way promotes prostitution? and that its system of legalized prostitution has made the ?business? more transparent, giving police more oversight, forcing the sex industry to operate above-ground, making the women in prostitution less vulnerable to violence and providing better protection for them.

In fact, Germany?s legalized system has emboldened traffickers both before and during the World Cup Games. For several years, criminal networks trafficking in women from Eastern Europe have targeted Germany as their destination of choice because of its legalized system, which opened the door to traffickers (Khaleej Times Online, ?Germany A Gateway to the West for Eastern Europe?s Trafficked Women,? January 26, 2004; also reported in AFP, Agence France Presse). 

According to Green Party spokeswoman, Irmingard Schewe-Gerigk, the German law legalizing prostitution was specifically passed to insure that prostitution would become a ?normal service? (Agence France Presse, ?German Government Plans to Recognize Prostitution as Profession, January 29, 2001). In 2004, it was reported that the German government planned to levy fines on companies that fail to hire trainees, and that this regulation also applied to brothels (Der Spiegel, May 2, 2004; Reuters, May 3, 2004).

Why is it that most women in prostitution in Germany do not declare it as their ?occupation,? given that they will be more protected? Only 300-600 women out of the 400,000 estimated to be in prostitution have done so. 

Given this history, it is difficult to take seriously the claims that the Federal Government of Germany ?in no way promotes prostitution,? that the industry is transparent, that police have better control against trafficking and that women are better protected. Are we also to believe that the criminal networks trafficking in women especially from Eastern Europe took a vacation during the lucrative World Cup Games? As for protection, it may be that the main thing women in prostitution were ?protected from? was talking honestly.