Monday, June 09, 2008

Human Trafficking Campaign Targets Soccer Fans

By Mark Ledsom

From the Guardian:

BERNE, Switzerland, May 26 (Reuters) - Soccer fans at next month's Euro 2008 tournament will be confronted with shocking images of human trafficking in between more traditional adverts for beer, food and consumer goods.

Campaigners fighting for an end to trafficking and forced prostitution presented a graphic 60-second television advert on Monday showing bruised women being dragged by the hair into a dark auction pit and sold into the sex trade. The advert concludes with a message that "hundreds of young women are sold into the Swiss sex industry every year". It will be shown on Swiss national television, at Switzerland's four Euro 2008 stadiums and at public fan zones in Berne, Basel and Zurich.

"Human trafficking is a terrible, grim thing and that is what we wanted to get across with the images used in the film," campaign co-president Ruth Gaby-Vermot told Reuters before Monday's presentation. "We want to make sure that people look at the film, and that they think about what they see and are made aware of the situation."

Fears were raised in 2006 about an increase in human trafficking and forced prostitution in the build-up to the World Cup in Germany. Studies later suggested that prostitution levels may have in fact decreased during the World Cup.

"We have learned from what we saw in Germany and do not expect Euro 2008 to cause an increase in human trafficking or forced prostitution at the event itself," Gaby-Vermot said. "But the tournament will attract millions of supporters including many men who might visit prostitutes back in their home countries. "So it's an ideal target audience to show that forced prostitution is a reality and that the men themselves can help tackle the problem."

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