Prostitution Gets a Red Card From the European Parliament

A campaign aimed at cracking down on the sexual exploitation of women at sporting events has just been launched in the European Parliament.

I was one of 20 MEPs who participated in the launch of this campaign organised by the European Women’s Lobby (EWL). In a message to athletes, officials, fans, journalists and decision-makers ahead of the London Olympics and the UEFA European Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine, we all held up red cards which read ‘Be a sport. Keep it fair… Say NO to prostitution.’

The police and others are concerned there will be on increase in prostitution in the run up to the Olympic Games in London.  Major sporting events are regularly coupled with a boom in prostitution, fuelled by the trafficking of women and girls. During the 2006 World Cup in Germany, national authorities noted an increase in the number of prostitutes in host areas.  The 2010 South African World Cup brought about a ‘huge’ increase in the sex trade, with the number of women and girls involved in prostitution, as well as the number of brothels, doubling.  Worryingly, there was research conducted in 2009 that had already found signs of increases in prostitution in the London boroughs hosting the Olympics.

I agree with the EWL’s position that prostitution is a form of violence against women which hinders the realisation of gender equality.  Women in prostitution face regular violence and rape, as well as lower life expectancy and serious mental and physical damage.  The abuse of women’s bodies and sexuality inherent in the system of prostitution feeds into a broader pattern of widespread violence against women.

I am a big supporter of the London Olympics and can’t wait for games to start, but I hope with awareness raising campaigns such as this, and the support of the police in London, we can make sure that we don’t see an increase in the trafficking and sexual exploitation of girls and women this summer.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Prostitution Gets a Red Card From the European Parliament

  1. Thank you for participating in this important statement on the realities of prostitution and the need to keep the London Olympics free from compounding the harm to women that is inherent in this crime.

    I hope that you will take a careful look at the “Swedish model” that finally places the blame for prostitution where it belongs – on the buyers whose demand for prostitution creates and drives the market in women’s bodies.

  2. trevorwebb

    Reblogged this on On The Webb.

  3. Derrington

    I think it would help to stop calling slavery ‘trafficking’ and stop calling commercial rape ‘prostitution’. The sex industry is the biggest commissioner of slavery in the modern world and men in the UK are participating in the rape trade in alarming numbers whilst using self induced ‘ignorance’ as a defence. As a nation we seem to be totally morally adrift and hiding the state of our behaviour from our own sight by rebranding repugnant behaviour with boil in the bag phraseology and abject lying which we know call ‘denial’.

  4. Derrington

    And re your last comment Mary, the Olympics has already shown an increase in prostitution and slavery in the Olympic boroughs as the 2009 report showed so you’re ‘let’s hope increased awareness stops prostitution’ is out of date by 3 years – the horse has already bolted and male MPs are simply not interested in female and child sexual slavery in this country. I suspect they think it will be a vote loser for them amongst men who value porn and the sex industry way over women and children’s right to lives free from rape and fear.

  5. There was no increase in sex work or trafficking in SA, or Germany or Athens during their sporting events. OK Athens has a small, not statistically valid increase, of which little was due to the Olympics. Germany found 4 associated with the World Cup.

    The police have seen no increase in trafficking in London, see present news articles in the papers, and the report for the Mayor of London.

    Sorry many of us see through your anti sex work scare stories. Your tactics put us at risk by the forced closure of working spaces.

    I don’t though expect you will publish this criticism, so not sure why I am wasting my time, other the utter contempt I hold you and others like you in..

    I even expect you to take credit when evidence shows no increase in the UK during the Olympics.

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