Amidst fears of an increase in sex trafficking surrounding the World Cup, German authorities led a crackdown on illegal prostitution last week. According to the Associated Press (AP), four German states arrested a total of 100 people during raids. The arrests are part of the German police’s response to widespread concerns by women’s rights and human rights groups about an increase in sex trafficking during next month’s World Cup. The soccer tournament, which will attract millions of tourists, may lead to 40,000 women trafficked to work in Germany as prostitutes against their will, according to AP.
Prostitution has been legal in Germany since 2002, with 400,000 registered sex workers, according to the AP. Ulrike Helwerth, speaking for the National Council of German Women’s Organizations (NCGWO), told the AP, “If the number of prostitutes goes up, the assumption is that on the fringes the criminal forced prostitution will also go up.” Most of the women trafficked will come from Eastern European countries, reports the AP.
In 2004, Germany acknowledged 1,000 cases of forced sex work but, as Michele Clark of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, noted, “Most of [women forced into prostitution] go unrecognized, unassisted, and unknown,” reports the Christian Science Monitor.