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Mary Lou McDonald urges support for EU campaign against forced prostitution ahead of World Cup Finals

9 June, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today urged support for an EU Campaign designed to raise awareness and help end the practice of forced prostitution.

Ms McDonald made her comments in advance of today's opening ceremony of the World Cup in Germany and before the European Parliament discusses the issue in Strasbourg this coming Monday (12.06.06).

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

„Millions of people across the world will enjoy the spectacle of the World Cup in Germany over this next month. Behind these celebrations it is believed that a significant number of people, particularly women and children, will be forced into prostitution.

"At every major sporting event where a large number of people gather, there is a spectacular temporary rise in the demand for sexual services. The Campaign, 'Red Card to Forced Prostitution' has been launched in advance of this summer's World Cup Finals tournament in Germany.

"In a 2005 'Trafficking in Persons' report it was estimated that approximately 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children are trafficked across international borders each year. Approximately 80 percent are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors.

"I want to back the calls made for the establishment of a European wide campaign aimed at informing both the general public and the potential victims of trafficking about the existence and practice of people-trafficking and sexual exploitation. The European Commission can play its part with the Member States, through funding, co-ordinating and driving such a campaign forward.

"People need to be aware that this horrific practice is rife and that we are determined to end this practice. People will want to remember World Cup 2006 for all of the right reasons, not for the potential exploitation of men, women or children." ENDS

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