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Polish nuns raise alarm about prostitution at soccer World Cup

Roman Catholic nuns in Poland are preparing anti-prostitution leaflets to be circulated during the soccer World Cup in Germany, after warnings that the month-long tournament could promote the trafficking of women to serve as prostitutes.

"Over 800 000 people are sold into sex slavery each year," said Jolanta Olech, president of Poland’s Conference of Female Superiors. "In beautiful, democratic Europe, which cries whenever a little dog gets hit, this scourge is being concealed by silence."

The leaflets would be circulated in Polish, Bulgarian, Romanian, Russian and other languages with telephone numbers for women seeking help during the World Cup, taking place in 12 German cities between 9 June and 9 July, Olech noted.

"A woman at risk who has a few seconds to memorise the number can get in touch with us, while those going for the work may think twice," she told Ecumenical News International. "But the leaflets should also affect prostitutes’ clients, so they’ll know some of these women have been forced into sex by criminals."

The Roman Catholic Union of European Conferences of Major Superiors had asked national organizations to campaign against prostitution. "Our resources are limited, but we’re doing what we can," Olech said.

A campaign against prostitution during the World Cup, which is expected to attract three million sports fans, was launched last February in Berlin, titled "Red Card for Forced Prostitution."

Prostitution is legal in Germany in designated areas, and German newspapers have reported that wooden "sex huts," equipped with condoms and showers, had been erected for the World Cup in Dortmund, as well as in Cologne, host cities for the sporting event.

(c) Ecumenical News International