The Women’s Rights Committe at the European Parliament is tackling football and sex trafficking in two days of debate in Brussels. There is concern that Euro 2008 hosted by Austria and Switzerland is tempting traffickers to force more women into prostitution. The parliament committee will ask the European Commission what it is doing to prevent this. An EU plan adopted in 2005 includes details of specific actions to be regularly reviewed and updated.
Two years ago, before World Cup in Germany, the committee launched the Red Card campaign against forced prostitution – claimed as a success. Slovakian Christian Democrat Anna Zaborska says: “This initiative came at the urging of German NGOs, warning us what’s being prepared, and that transport is being organised to bring in young women especially for this event.” The host cities are eager to make Euro 2008 a happy experience for fans. But Austrian Socialist MEP Christa Prets, noting that organised crime was ready, willing and able to spoil the good clean fun, said: “Trafficking in women is a Europe-wide crime and an extraordinarily cruel form of modern slavery.” The International Labour Organisation says more than two million people are trafficked worldwide every year, and four out of ten of them are believed to be forced into sex.