Prostitution ‘will happen’ — Valcke

1st March 2010 By: Sapa

Does FIFA approve of Cape Town's crackdown on sex workers ahead of the soccer World Cup?

The organisation's general secretary Jerome Valcke did not seem too sure at a media briefing in the city on Monday.

"What can I answer?" he said in response to a reporter's question. "Whatever I'm saying, I will say something wrong."

The city's metro police, at the urging of mayoral committee member for safety JP Smith, have for several months been regularly rounding up streetwalkers and raiding brothels.

Valcke said on Monday, however, that this was not at FIFA's request.

He also said that sex work existed "in any city of the world", including Zurich, where FIFA's headquarters are.

"It' well organised, by the way: it's the Swiss system," he said.

He said that the issue had led to major debate in Germany at the 2006 World Cup, where additional sex workers came into the country because there was such demand.

"I think that all of this is part of the myth of the World Cup, and all the stories around the World Cup [and] any sporting events," Valcke said.

"It will happen, and there is nothing we can do against it.

"It's not an issue for FIFA: it's more I would say for you [South Africans] an issue, if it is an issue."

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, also at the briefing, said that city mayor Dan Plato, sitting next to her, did not want to comment, but she did not mind going where angels feared to tread.

She said that sex work was so tied up with human trafficking that one could not separate the two.

"It's not just an issue of being liberal around people's individual choice, because most often the women and children involved have no choice," she said.

Former national police commissioner Jackie Selebi suggested to Members of Parliament in 2007 that sex work should be legalised in a "special dispensation" for the World Cup.