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Saturday, 22 July, 2000, 14:45 GMT 15:45 UK
Czech challenge to child prostitution

By Ray Furlong in Prague

Details have been emerging of a new plan drawn up by the Czech Republic to combat child prostitution.

The plan follows criticism by Germany, which has accused the Czechs of not doing enough to co-operate in the fight against sex tourism.

The Czech Republic is considered to be one of the biggest centres for paedophile activity in Europe.

The government plan calls for the issue of child prostitution to be included in sex education in schools.

A spokesman said the idea was to make children more aware of the problem.

A government report said there were hundreds of cases listed every year, but this is thought to be a fraction of the real number.

Recently, German border officials handed out leaflets to motorists crossing the border into the Czech Republic warning of strict penalties for the use of child prostitutes.

Paedophiles

The leaflets, which featured the face of a crying child covered by a shadow, were a response to the growing trade in child prostitutes around the border regions.

In an interview with Der Spiegel magazine recently, Germany's Interior Minister Otto Schily said paedophiles were travelling to the area by the coachload, and that the Czech authorities were not doing enough to combat the problem.

He called for a series of police raids - but Czech legislation is weak on this point, dealing only with the trade in female prostitutes.

Also, Czech law recognises only the rape of women, not of men.

The government's new national plan aims to address these problems, as well as to provide stricter sentences for paedophilia and for possession of child pornography.

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See also:

27 Jan 00 | World
New weapon against child porn
22 May 99 | Europe
Norway tackles Arctic vice
23 Feb 00 | Americas
Crackdown on sex slavery
26 Feb 00 | South Asia
US highlights human trafficking
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