UNICEF documents sexual exploitation of children at German-Czech border

29 October 2003

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today announced the publication of a report on child prostitution in the German-Czech border area detailing what it called a "harrowing" problem involving the exploitation of at least 500 boys and girls.

The report, published by UNICEF's office in Germany and ECPAT, a German non-governmental organization (NGO), based on the work of a researcher from KARO, another German NGO, gives "a detailed picture of the commercial sexual exploitation of children in this region, heavily frequented by German sex tourists. It shows the scale of the business and the conditions in which its victims live," UNICEF said in a statement released today.

"The conclusions are harrowing: In the German-Czech border region, a flourishing commerce in child sexual exploitation has developed. Since 1996, KARO staff has observed about 500 girls and boys who are in prostitution," it said.

The report says "a key reason for the increasing demand is that larger numbers of sex tourists specifically request children."

"Small babies and children up to six years of age are usually offered to sex tourists by women," it says. "Children older than seven years are usually accompanied by a male adolescent or adult."

According to the report, "Many of the children get inside the cars of German sex tourists and drive away with them. Older children from eight years on negotiate prices and sexual services."

The study says it has proof of the existence of organized international trafficking in children for sexual exploitation.

"Children from other regions of the Czech Republic and from Central and Eastern European States are trafficked to the border regions, or from there to Germany, in order to be sexually exploited. Children from remote areas of the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and other countries such as Moldova, Ukraine, Lithuania and the Russian Federation were observed and questioned. Their statements and, in particular, the interviews with adult prostitutes, made it clear that gangs of pimps systematically drag minors to the German-Czech border regions and force them into prostitution," it says.

 

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