Trafficking and Abuse a Concern at the World Cup

Fri Mar. 10, 2006 4:48 PM EST

It's less than a hundred days until the start of the World Cup in Germany, where more than three million fans will fill the stadiums from thirty-two nations. Understandably, the host country wants to do its part to make sure its guests are comfortable. But in addition to bathrooms and food stands, German cities are also bringing in mobile brothels to accommodate the anticipated boom in the sex trade.

In addition to the registered German prostitutes who will be there, it's possible that over 40,000 women from Central and Eastern Europe will enter the country illegally to "entertain" clients. (Prostitution is legal in Germany, and all registered prostitutes are unionized and receive pensions and health benefits.) So while many women are anticipating a boom in business, critics are concerned about human trafficking and abuse, especially once fired-up soccer fans start hitting the streets after hours of drinking at the games.

European soccer games are notoriously rowdy, and often lead to disorderly and violent behavior. One need only glance at the Scotsman's regular feature, "football and sex assault claims" to get a sense of what goes on here. And while Germany is spending upwards of 20 million euros on stadium security alone, they've done little to quell fears about sex abuse beyond pledging to hand out 100,000 free condoms.