MEP battles to end the sexual exploitation of children around the world
This week in Strasbourg, Marina has been spearheading the ‘It’s a penalty campaign’ in the European Parliament. The campaign hopes to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil and aims to deter football fans from perpetrating the crime.
600,000 foreign visitors are expected to visit Brazil for the World Cup spending approximately R$6.8 billion. Paying for sex with anyone aged 17 or under is illegal, but pimps will often dress up children as young as eleven to make them appear older and then sell them for sex.
The initiative, championed by Happy Child International, the Jubilee Fund and the A21 Campaign, has been given the support of the Metropolitan police, Europol, the Embassy of Brazil and CEOP (the Child Exploitation & Online Protection Centre). With the help of British Airways and Thomson, videos and leaflets will be presented to passengers heading out to Brazil, making them aware of the risks and consequences of paying for underage sex.
In Strasbourg, Marina has led efforts to raise awareness of this campaign and has the support of colleagues from across the EU.
Speaking about the initiative Marina said “It is extremely important that we ensure any influx in tourism to Brazil does not play into the hands of pimps and traffickers. It is utterly despicable that children as young as 11 are sold for sex on the streets of Rio and the world has an obligation to make sure that this abhorrent trade is eliminated. If tourists and football fans are made aware of the risks and consequences we can work to end the sexual exploitation of children and protect all victims”.
If it can be proven that an individual has paid for underage sex while abroad; they will be prosecuted in the UK by the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) upon or after their return.
The campaign is supported by the Prime Minister David Cameron, England Manager Roy Hodgson, and famous footballers of past and present, including Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer, Graeme le Saux and Frank Lampard.