Conference on Prostitution of minors in the German-Czech-Austrian border regions: Obstacles to the prevention of and the fight against sexual exploitation of children.
Brussels, European Parliament, 07 November 2006
Members of the WYA European Office together with members of the WYA Slovenian Committee attended a conference in the European Parliament on the subject of child prostitution.
The conference attracted expert speakers from significant European and Global organisations who spoke on the devastating effects of child exploitation, the role of the EU in this matter and importantly the link between prostitution and trafficking.
The hands-on experience of Cathrin Schauer, founder of KARO an association for cross-border social work in the field of prostitution and narcotics, gave an account of the demand for child prostitutes and the different levels of exploitation that takes place. She states that in many circumstances the young victims have been so stripped of their dignity and denied of any source of love and they are therefore often incapable of knowing how to love others.
The situations in which these children and young women live are often extremely dangerous as many of them are forced to work on the street, do not have any means to escape such a life and they do not seem to be protected by the police or any kind of legislation.
Sabine Sauer-Hetzer a well-respected photographer, who created an exhibition on the issue of child prostitution and trafficking shared her experience with the Slovenian Committee at the conference reception. She spoke of the danger of exposing the exploitation that she had to consistently change and create ways to hide her camera on the streets.
The conference provoked very strong reactions from those who attended. In the panel discussion many asked of the role of the European Parliament and Commission in the protection of these vulnerable children and the rehabilitation structure given. Furthermore, many demanded a change of legislation that would more effectively prosecute those directing child prostitution and trafficking and the clients seek out such young children.
The members of World Youth Alliance were able to meet and speak to Members of the European Parliament, speakers and other representatives of Civil Society who attended the conference. In sharing the aims,works and ideas of the World Youth Alliance the members of WYA were able to share their understanding of human dignity in the face of the issues of development, policy and legislation which were key issues within the conference.
The World Youth Alliance believes that supply and demand of prostitution & trafficking denigrates the human dignity of the many men and women involved. WYA recognise the importance of role of woman, man and family in society should be addressed in the light of integral development of the human person.