Parliamentary Assembly
Assemblée
parlementaire

Doc. 10881
10 April 2006

Stop trafficking in women before the FIFA World Cup

Report
Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men
Rapporteur : Mrs Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold (Switzerland, Socialist Group)


Summary

Concerned at the announced arrival of tens of thousands of women and girl victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation on the occasion of the 2006 football World Cup, the Assembly urges the competent authorities to take the necessary urgent measures to eradicate trafficking in human beings and protect the victims.

The Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, adopted on 3 May 2005, provides for measures to prevent trafficking, protect victims and prosecute traffickers. In particular, it provides for a thirty-day period of reflection and recovery and for measures to assist victims. The Assembly accordingly calls on the Council of Europe's member states and the European Community to sign and ratify the Convention.

In view of the urgency of the situation, it calls on Council of Europe member states and the cities hosting the World Cup to implement the main provisions of the Convention without delay, such as the victim identification process and measures to protect victims, in particular the thirty-day period of reflection and recovery, and asks them to set up multilingual information, reception and assistance centres for victims. It calls on FIFA to commit itself to a strong condemnation of trafficking in women and invites the media and professional footballers to condemn trafficking in women, for example by supporting the Council of Europe’s campaign to combat trafficking in human beings.

A.       Draft resolution

1. The Parliamentary Assembly is very concerned about the announcement made by certain NGOs who predict that between 30,000 and 60,000 women and young girls may fall victim to trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation during the FIFA World Cup, which will take place in Germany between 9 June and 9 July 2006.

2. The Assembly considers it important to avoid confusing the concepts of trafficking, prostitution and immigration, which must be dealt with separately and appropriately. It reiterates that trafficking in human beings is defined in international conventions as “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

3. It must be remembered that trafficking constitutes a violation of human rights and an intolerable infringement of the dignity of its victims. The Assembly strongly condemns this practice, which consists of treating human beings as objects, and calls for the protection of the victims of trafficking.

4. The Assembly reiterates its firm intention to eradicate this scourge and restates its commitment to do so, as reflected in the text of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. It therefore welcomes the adoption, on 3 May 2005, of this Convention which sets out measures for the prevention of trafficking, the protection of victims and the prosecution of traffickers. In particular, it points out that the Convention provides for a recovery and reflection period of thirty days and measures to assist the victims of trafficking.

5. However, it notes that to date only 26 member states of the Council of Europe have signed the Convention and no state has ratified it. It deeply regrets the fact that the European Community has not acceded to it either.

6. It is delighted that FIFA supports various humanitarian causes, such as the protection of the rights of children and the fight against racism. In its capacity as World Cup organiser, FIFA must also assume its responsibility to condemn the exploitation of women, which sometimes, highly regrettably, accompanies the holding of sports events, and therefore to denounce any activities that threaten human rights.

7. With the World Cup imminent, and given the acute nature of the problem of trafficking, men and women politicians alike, as well as sports organisations, must immediately take all the necessary measures to prevent trafficking and to protect its victims. In order to achieve this, the Assembly favours a non-discriminatory and humane approach and therefore rules out any proposal to set up a temporary visa system applicable only to women.

8. Consequently, it welcomes and supports the European Parliament’s decision to promote the “Red card to forced prostitution” campaign run by the German National Council of Women and to ask the European Commission and the member states of the European Union to campaign throughout Europe so as to inform and educate the general public, and in particular football fans, about forced prostitution in the context of world sports events.

9. It backs the European Parliament’s call for the states that will be affected by this problem, especially Germany, to set up a multilingual helpline to allow the victims of trafficking to request emergency assistance. The emergency phone number should be prominently displayed, with guidance in every language, in the various means of transport and on the various routes used by people who are travelling.

10. It urges the member states of the Council of Europe to:

10.1.        sign, if they have not already done so, and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings as soon as possible, so that it may come into force at the earliest opportunity and have the broadest possible impact;

10.2.        implement without delay the main provisions of the Convention, such as the victim identification process and the recovery and reflection period of thirty days for the benefit of victims, paying special attention to presumed victims who are in the process of being identified as such;

10.3.       help victims by setting up, for example, multilingual information, reception and assistance centres, and by ensuring that the police treat women victims of trafficking in human beings as victims and not as illegal immigrants;

10.4       consider the possibility of holding responsible those who use the services provided by victims of trafficking.

11. The Assembly calls upon the European Community to sign and ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings as soon as possible. It urges the European Commission to initiate without further delay the internal procedure making it possible for the European Community to sign and ratify this Convention. It asks the Council of the European Union to take the decision to sign and ratify the Convention.

12. It asks the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities to join the fight against trafficking in human beings. It calls on the municipal authorities of the World Cup host cities to denounce trafficking and to put in place multilingual information and reception units for victims.

13. It calls on FIFA to commit itself to a strong condemnation of trafficking in women, supporting for instance the Council of Europe’s campaign to combat trafficking in human beings.

14. Finally, it encourages the media and professional footballers to condemn trafficking in women and to take part in that campaign.

B.       Explanatory memorandum by Ms Vermot-Mangold

I.        Description of the situation: ahead of the FIFA football World Cup, NGOs are sounding the alarm about the situation of women trafficking victims

1. The 2006 FIFA World Cup is being held in Germany from 9 June to 9 July 2006. Twelve German cities will be receiving around 3 million spectators. Many non-governmental organisations (NGOs)1 are alerting public opinion to a huge influx of trafficked women and girls. They estimate that between 30,000 and 60,000 of them will be brought in from central and east European countries to be sexually exploited. Many will have been deceived into thinking that they are going to jobs in the services sector, in particular as waitresses in bars or restaurants. In actual fact they will be forced into prostitution. The event that is in preparation is a gigantic opportunity for the market in trafficked human beings. In this particular case the market will be in sexual exploitation of human flesh, a modern slave trade which is totally illegal.

2. The whole sex industry is gearing up for the World Cup. A 3000 m˛ sex complex (“Eros centre”) with 650 “service boxes” (showers and condoms provided) has been built near Berlin’s Olympiastadion. In Cologne “performance boxes” – small individual units with a bed, shower and condom and snack machine – are likewise planned. Dortmund has opted for drive-in facilities, in specified areas under surveillance. Given these appalling facts I, as rapporteur, deplore that violence towards women is nowadays a gigantic world security problem. As I see it, the countries concerned and the competent authorities have to guarantee the safety of human beings – women and girl victims in this instance – in a context of national and international trafficking.

3. In Germany there have been initiatives. An awareness-raising campaign against forced prostitution and trafficking in human beings (Abpfiff – “Final Whistle”) was launched on 7 March under the auspices of the National Council for Women, a federation of women’s associations. The joint president of the German Football Federation, Theo Zwanziger, is sponsoring the campaign. I regret that, apart from Theo Zwanziger, leaders of sporting institutions, and sports people themselves, are sitting on the fence. In Hamburg there is to be a round-the-clock information centre, with interpreters, for foreign prostitutes. There will be shelters and multilingual hotlines for victims of trafficking. The German Government’s action plan on violence towards women allows presumed victims of trafficking four weeks’ reflection time, but so far that period is compulsory in only a few Länder. According to the information supplied by my colleague, Ms Rupprecht, Germany has introduced a telephone line for clients wanting to report likely cases of forced prostitution anonymously.

II.        Analysis of the phenomenon: trafficking in women for purposes of sexual exploitation

4. Some people seem to be shifting the debate about trafficking of women to the end of sexual exploitation towards a choice between legalisation of sexual services and outright prohibition of them. However, presenting the issue as a choice between authorising and prohibiting prostitution obscures the basic problem, that of women being trafficked into prostitution. I therefore want to avoid debate about the legality of prostitution taking precedence over the real problem, and to concentrate on the key issue: are the women offering sexual services exploited or not, trafficked or not? The situation as described above would unfortunately suggest that large numbers of women and girls who will be working as prostitutes during the World Cup will have been forced into it. The problem thus takes on a quite different aspect: that of violation of women’s human rights.

5. For the record, there are international legal instruments which define trafficking in human beings, in particular the Additional Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons to the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (on which the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings is modelled2). Their definition of trafficking is “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs”3. The inescapable fact is that the situation we are complaining about involves trafficking in human beings as defined in these international instruments: most of the women who will be recruited by traffickers will, as the main inducement, be given false promises of work that is better paid than in their countries of origin, only to end up being exploited –in this particular case, prostituted.

6. Neither temporarily introducing visas for nationals of non-EU countries nor lengthening the waiting times for issue of visas will present traffickers with unsurmountable obstacles. That type of measure, which treats the issue as akin to an immigration matter, could not only cause discrimination against women visa applicants but also deprive women of possible information or protection at borders (since in practice, if refused visas, they would have to cross illegally, thus without benefit of any source of help).

III.       Need for an international legal framework: the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

7. Given the complexity of trafficking phenomena and the many different kinds of perpetrator, states must face up to their responsibilities and guarantee victims adequate assistance and protection, in particular a reflection and recovery period necessary to anyone who has been subjected to great psychological and physical trauma. I am convinced that the Council of Europe convention answers the main concerns mentioned: it is a comprehensive treaty dealing essentially with protection for victims of trafficking and with preservation of their rights. It is also concerned with the prevention of trafficking and the prosecution of traffickers. It applies to all forms of trafficking, whether national or transnational and whether linked or not to organised crime. It applies whoever the victim – woman, man or child – and whatever the form of exploitation – sex exploitation, labour exploitation, forced services, and so on. It sets up an independent supervisory mechanism guaranteeing Parties’ observance of its provisions.

8. I very much regret that so far only 26 member states4 have signed the convention and none has ratified it. The convention will enter into force when 10 signatory states, 8 of which must be Council of Europe member states, have ratified it. Firstly, therefore, I urge Council of Europe member states to sign the convention if they have not yet done so and to ratify it as soon as possible so that it can come into force as speedily as possible and have the widest possible impact. Secondly I would ask them to apply without delay the convention’s main provisions, such as the victim-identification process and the thirty-day reflection and recovery period for victims. After the reflection and recovery period I would like to see them grant residence and employment permits so as to avert the very real risk – given the threats which traffickers are known to make to victims and, very often, their families – of immediate revictimisation. Lastly I would ask them to assist victims by, for example, setting up multilingual information, reception and assistance facilities.

9. Given that the European Commission had a leading role in negotiating the convention, I am surprised that the European Community has not yet signed or ratified it. I call on the European Community to sign and ratify it as soon as possible.

IV.       Responsibilities of host cities

10. NGOs report that the German host cities face a 30% increase in the sex trade. Here again, the legality or otherwise of prostitution is irrelevant and cannot justify sitting back and doing nothing. The competition’s host cities will be in the front line, with local sex trades being set up and growing numbers of trafficking victims. Those cities have a duty to report trafficking in women and protect the victims. For that purpose they should immediately set up victim information and reception facilities. In doing so they will have to bear in mind the many factors which place victims in an especially difficult position. In particular, some of them speak uncommon languages, they have been subjected to repeated serious physical and psychological attack, and they are often completely disoriented in the outside world, even when offered help. They are afraid of all kinds of reprisals from their traffickers. It is bound to take time to help them regain a little confidence and trust the people helping them. These difficulties prompt me to urge the host cities to set up multilingual information and reception units adapted to victims’ needs. In addition, the police services who will be dealing with victims’ complaints or will be faced with trafficking cases will have to take proper account of the characteristics of trafficking victims, whether or not the victim is legally present on national territory and whether or not victimhood has forced her to break the law.

11. I welcome the fact that the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities recently5 stated that trafficking in human beings, particularly women and children, for purposes of sexual exploitation should currently be the priority field of action at local and regional level. In particular it called on local and regional authorities to “draw up and implement local and regional anti-trafficking action plans and strategies … to prevent trafficking and protect victims, comprising numerous measures (including setting up a specialised department, resource centre or support unit at regional and local level dedicated to action against human trafficking, awareness-raising campaigns, specialised training for police and professionals coming into contact with trafficked persons, greater educational opportunities for women and children and improved economic possibilities for disadvantaged populations)”. I would stress the importance of involvement of local and regional authorities in anti-trafficking action and accordingly ask the Congress to press on with its action against human trafficking.

V.       Responsibilities of World Cup organisers

12.       The official emblem of the 2006 FIFA World Cup is a group of smiling faces. I suggest that, to ensure that everyone’s faces – women’s and men’s alike – continue smiling, FIFA, its governing bodies and the 2006 World Cup organising committee give a firm commitment to combat trafficking in women, in a spirit of tolerance and respect for other people and so as to distance themselves from any form of exploitation or human rights violation.

13.       The President of FIFA, Mr Joseph Blatter, has stated that FIFA recognises the pivotal role of sport, and football in particular, in transmitting clear messages opposing the evils which undermine society worldwide.6 Given that laudable stance, I hope that the World Cup will help eradicate the evil of trafficking and sexual exploitation. I am delighted that FIFA gives its backing to various causes, such as protection of children’s rights and combating racism. I would, however, point out that English football clubs, in line with their responsibilities in the matter, pay for police supervision of hooligans, whose presence, whether inside or outside football grounds, results purely from the organising of football matches. I hope that FIFA, as the supreme football body and the World Cup organiser, will similarly shoulder its responsibilities with regard to trafficking of women generated by the mere fact of announcing a major sports event. I suggest asking FIFA to express strong condemnation of links between football and trafficking women into prostitution. I call on FIFA to support the Council of Europe action campaign on human trafficking.

VI.       Responsibilities of the media and professional footballers

14.       I believe that the media have an important role to play in tackling this problem which surfaces at major sporting events that receive particular media coverage.

15.       Professional footballers’ media impact should also be borne in mind. They have a particular influence on young football fans and on spectators who are potential sex clients. I am scandalised to see that, unfortunately, there are still many who regard football and sex as inseparable. That notion should be firmly opposed. I regret the indifference of professional footballers to the issue and would like to see them taking a firm public stance on trafficking in women whenever they have an opportunity. I am convinced that playing their part, as professionals and media celebreties, would enhance their image as well as benefiting efforts to protect human rights. It is they who are best placed to bring home to the paying supporter that female trafficking and forced prostitution have nothing to do with sport, just as they have recently done in the case of racism. The message should be the very opposite – that sport is about fair play and tolerance.

16.       To conclude, and with the World Cup in the offing, I ask the whole football community, together with every country or place of origin, transit or destination of victims of trafficking, to take action against human trafficking by implementing an instrument which is of great significance to prevention, victim protection and prosecution of traffickers – the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. I accordingly call on the Assembly to adopt the draft resolution.

* * *

Reporting committee: Committee on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men

Reference to Committee: reference N° 3207 of 10 April 2006

Draft resolution unanimously adopted by the Committee on 10 April 2006.

Members of the Committee: Mrs Minodora Cliveti (Chairperson), Mrs Rosmarie Zapfl-Helbling (1st Vice-Chairperson), Mrs Anna Čurdová (2nd Vice-Chairperson), Mrs Svetlana Smirnova (3rd Vice-Chairperson), Ms Birgitta Ahlqvist, Ms Elmira Akhundova, Mrs Edita Angyalová, Mrs Željka Antunović, Mrs Aneliya Atanassova, Mr John Austin, Mr Oleksiy Baburin, Mr Denis Badré (alternate: Mr Jean-Guy Branger), Ms Marieluise Beck, Mrs Gülsün Bilgehan, Mrs Marida Bolognesi, Mr Krzysztof Bosak, Mrs Mimount Bousakla, Mr Paul Bradford, Mrs Ingrīda Circene, Ms Diana Çuli, Mrs Lydie Err, Mrs Catherine Fautrier, Mrs Maria Emelina Fernández Soriano, Ms Sonia Fertuzinhos (alternate: Mr José Mendes Bota), Mrs Margrét Frímannsdóttir, Mr Guiseppe Gaburro, Mr Piotr Gadzinowksi, Mrs Alena Gajdůšková, Mr Pierre Goldberg, Mrs Claude Greff, Mr Attila Gruber, Ms Aynur Guliyeva, Mrs Carina Hägg, Mr Poul-Henrik Hedeboe (alternate: Ms Kirsten Brosbřl), Mr Ilie Ilaşcu, Mrs Halide Incekara, Ms Danuta Jazlowiecka, Ms Verica Kalanoviċ, Mrs Eleonora Katseli, Baroness Knight of Collingtree, Mrs Angela Leahu, Mrs Minna Lintonen, Mrs Danguté Mikutiené, Mrs Fausta Morganti, Mr Burkhardt Müller-Sönksen (alternate: Ms Angelika Graf), Mrs Christine Muttonen, Mrs Hermine Naghdalyan, Mr Hilmo Neimarlija, Mrs Vera Oskina, Mr Ibrahim Özal, Mr Julio Padilla, Mrs Patrizia Paoletti Tangheroni, Ms Elsa Papadimitriou (alternate: Ms Maria Damanaki), Mrs Fatma Pehlivan, Mrs Antigoni Pericleous-Papadopoulos, Mr Leo Platvoet, Mrs Majda Potrata, Mr Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, Mr Andrea Rigoni, Mrs Marlene Rupprecht, Mrs Rodica-Mihaela Stănoiu, Mrs Darinka Stantcheva, Ms Agnes Vadai, Mrs Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold, Mrs Betty Williams, Mrs Jenny Willott, Mr Gert Winkelmeier, Ms Karin S. Woldseth, Mrs Gisela Wurm, Mr Andrej Zernovski.

N.B. The names of the members who took part in the meeting are printed in bold.

Secretaries of the Committee: Ms Kleinsorge, Ms Affholder, Ms Devaux


1 See, for example, http://www.genreenaction.net/article.php3?id_article=4042

See also the petition launched by Coalition in Trafficking in Women (CATW) http://catwepetition.ouvaton.org/php/index.php

2 Council of Europe Treaty Series No. 197. Convention adopted on 3 May 2005 and opened for signature on 16 May 2005 on the occasion of the 3rd Summit of Council of Europe Heads of State and Government.

3 Article 4 of the Convention.

4 Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Sweden, “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and Ukraine.

5 Resolution 196 (2005) on the fight against trafficking in human beings: the role of cities and regions.

6 See http://www.fifa.com/fr/fairplay/0/1256.0.00.html