Vatican officials slam promotion of prostitution at World Cup

Vatican officials have joined a chorus of criticism against human trafficking and the promotion of prostitution during the World Cup which opens tonight in Germany.

Catholic News Service reports that prostitution is legal in Germany, and experts say an estimated 40,000 additional women will be engaged in prostitution during the soccer tournament.

"Many of them are forced into this activity. They are doing it against their will; they are trafficked. This is a fundamental human rights violation," Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Travellers, told Vatican Radio yesterday.

"Women have become market commodities, which can be bought. And they cost less than a ticket for a football match," the Archbishop said.

The World Cup is being held in 12 German cities for a month starting tonight. The event is expected to attract 3 million sports fans.

Nongovernmental organisations and church groups have said many of the additional women brought in as prostitutes will come from the poorer countries of Eastern Europe or from Europe's immigrant population.

German newspapers have reported that wooden "sex huts," equipped with condoms and showers, have been erected for the World Cup in Dortmund and Cologne. A newly opened brothel in Berlin next to the World Cup stadium can accommodate 650 male clients.

Archbishop Marchetto said the Church should give more attention to the clients of prostitutes, examining their motives and educating boys and men in healthy human sexuality.

As for those profiting through the sex industry and trafficking, Archbishop Marchetto said they should be prosecuted and severe financial penalties should be imposed on them.

In a separate interview, Msgr Aldo Giordano, secretary-general of the Council of European Bishops Conferences, said the prostitution promotion during the World Cup was a "scandal."

Vatican official criticizes promotion of prostitution for World Cup (Catholic News Service 8/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
FIFA World Cup Germany
Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

Scottish fans "may sin" by not supporting England in World Cup (CathNews 7/6/06)
Caritas condemns prostitution at World Cup (CathNews 25/5/06)

'Football-mad' priest sets up World Cup chapel in Nottingham Cathedral (Independent Catholic News 8/6/06)
Catholics Pray for Rooney Miracle (The Universe 7/6/06)

9 Jun 2006