Czechs and Germans join forces to fight sex tourism

Earlier this week, representatives of the Czech Interior Ministry held a meeting with their German colleagues in Berlin to discuss further measures against child prostitution and sex tourism within the Czech-German border area.

The Czech Republic has been facing a growing influx of men from Germany ever since the border was re-opened in 1990, as the services offered by Czech prostitutes cost about a third of what they would pay in Germany. Dita Asiedu spoke to the German Deputy Interior Minister, Cornelie Sonntag-Wolgast and asked her what the Czech and the German governments had done so far to combat child prostitution and sex tourism.

Cornelie Sonntag-Wolgast: "We started last year in the summer with an action at eight points of the border and we informed people crossing the border, to give them an idea of what happens if they try to find children for sexual abuse. It was a good success and all of the people were very interested. They know the problem now and they know that what they do - if there is a punishment in Germany, it is also a punishment in a foreign country, like the Czech Republic. I think that is very important."

Radio Prague: You held a meeting on Tuesday with Mrs. Gjuricova of the Czech Interior Ministry regarding a joint Czech-German campaign to fight child prostitution within the border area. What was the outcome of the meeting?

CS:"We decided to form a group of experts between three countries. Not only German and Czech, but also Polish experts will be joining us. We think we will start our work in late May or the beginning of June, in Prague."

RP:The Czech authorities have been claiming that the German press has soiled the Czech Republic's reputation, with the release of numerous articles on the large number of and easy access to child prostitutes in the country. Would you say that this has caused the Czech Republic to be less willing to admit that sex tourism and child prostitution is indeed a problem?

CS:"Well, the Czech Republic sees that there is a problem. But I can understand that the Czech Republic and the authorities try to prevent being accused."

RP: Are there any issues or preventive measures that you disagree on?

CS: "I don't think so. I think the most important thing is that we have common work. It is our duty to the process of the enlargement of Europe. It is very important that we have conditions on the borders which are accepted by the whole Union."