Friday, March 12, 2010

crackdown on 'sponsoring'

From: NPE
'sponsoring' is a big problem in Poland
Katowice police have started a campaign against teenage prostitution amid growing concern that increasing numbers of high-school girls are selling their bodies for fashionable clothes.

Police officers will tour schools and shopping malls warning girls that while prostitution might provide cash for clothes it brings with it many dangers.

“We do not want to teach children how to easily earn money, but to show them that prostitution is linked to drug addiction, alcoholism, venereal diseases, HIV / AIDS and trafficking in human beings,” said Sergeant Adrianna Mazur, the programme’s designer from the police in the southern city of Katowice.

The programme comes amid mounting evidence that more girls are using their bodies as means to access fashionable clothes and gadgets such as mobile phones that are generally beyond the meagre financial resources of a teenage.

A recent survey of 15-year-old girls in Katowice found that 67 per cent of them had a friend or peer who had engaged in prostitution, and, experts warn that given the shadowy nature of the practice the true level may well be higher than any estimates.

“We all know that the problem exists, but really no-one really knows the scale of the problem because prostitution is not punishable, and disclosing it is not in the interests of the minors or their customers,” said Sergeant Mazur.

The problem has been fuelled by the internet, which provides girls with easy advertising. Websites full of girls looking for a “sponsor” are common place on the net, and experts also point out that mobile phones have made it far easier for girls to tout their bodies by texting photographs, and to arrange meetings with clients.

“Child prostitution is a serious problem, which has now moved to the malls and to the internet,” said Pawel Spiewak, president of, adding that the problem is often compounded by the child’s failure to regard the practice as prostitution.

“In the minds of these girls, prostitutes are the people who work in brothels or stand by the road. Hopefully the programme developed by the police in Katowice will open the eyes of young people,” he explained.”

Police have also said parents should shoulder some of the responsibility for the problem through their failure to ask their children where they got the money for any expensive clothes or phone they might have.