Sweden must boycott World Cup - equality chief

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Sweden must boycott World Cup - equality chief

The World Cup Finals in Germany this summer will promote prostitution and human trafficking. That is the view of equality ombudsman Claes Borgström, who has called for Sweden to boycott the competition.


"The sports movement, and not least football, has enormous power. That power can be used to show that we don't participate in anything which promotes slavery," said Borgström on the television programme Agenda on Sunday evening.

Prostitution and brothels are legal in Germany. As the World Cup kicks off, both demand and supply is expected to increase dramatically - as will the likelihood of increased trade in women to Germany.

"Nobody knows how many women will be 'imported'. There is talk of 10,000 to 40,000. But the fact that there are some women is enough for it to be totally unacceptable," said Claes Borgström.

Birgitta Ljung, vice chairman of the Swedish Sports Confederation, said that the sports movement has been very clear in distancing itself from human trafficking and to talk of a boycott is 'unbelievably naive'.

The chairman of the Swedish Football Association, Lars-Åke Lagrell, also rejected the idea:

"That would mean that we would have an utterly disappointed nation at the World Cup and then we would probably be banned from the next one," he told Swedish Television.

The issue has already appeared on the political agenda. A number of Swedish politicians have spoken out against the German attitude towards prostitution, including justice minister Thomas Bodström.

He raised the question of the risk of increased trafficking and other prostitution-related crime during the World Cup Finals at the EU ministers meeting.

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