NEWS

Campaign against sex slavery

The turnover from the exploitation of women and children forced into prostitution in Greece has come to an astronomical 6 billion euros over the last 10 years, an academic who has studied the subject said yesterday. The decade of 1990-2000 showed a great increase in the problem of forced prostitution, with an estimated 75,500 women and children victims, said Grigoris Lazos, a sociologist and criminologist at Panteion University. He was speaking at a news conference heralding a public awareness campaign against sexual exploitation that is being conducted by the Stop Now team of the non-governmental Center for Research and Action for Peace. In 1990, the number of victims of sexual exploitation came to 2,100. In 1993, the figure had risen to 8,500 and then rocketed to a record 21,700 in 1997. There has been a slight decline since, with the number of people forced into prostitution coming to 19,500 in 2000, among whom were about 1,000 children aged 13, 14 and 15. Lazos attributed this slight drop to more intensive policing and economic problems that have led to a shortage of cash among customers. A television campaign is expected to start soon in an effort to make the public aware of the issues and problems related to forced prostitution. The spot was created and donated by ADEL / Saatchi & Saatchi. It shows a young woman doing a striptease in a nightclub. The message is that her name is Irina, she is 22 years old, a former teacher and she came to Greece in search of a better life only to find that the reality was different. Her passport was taken by those who kept her as a slave. «The illegal traffic in people is a trade in slaves,» it says. A second spot will follow in October and a third in December. They will be accompanied by radio and print campaigns and a telephone hotline.