20. 1. 2010
Prostitution and human trafficking in the Czech Republic?
BBC TV grossly distorts its documentary
BBC 3 has broadcast a one-hour documentary by Simon Boazman Stag Weekends: The Dirty Secrets. The programme deals with trips of British men to Prague for paid sex. The Czech Republic was presented in the BBC documentary as a transit country for the international trafficking in women. This is a gross distortion of facts, says Irena Konečná, the director of the Prague-based La Strada organisation which systematically analyses the problems of human trafficking and prostitution in Central Europe.
The BBC TV team did speak to Konečná, but in her view, it is clear from the finished film that the BBC went to Prague to make a pre-conceived project. Information from specialists working with real people on the ground in Prague was ignored by the BBC.
Boazman's film includes an interview with a man called "Tibor" who has allegedly organised the "export" of several Slovak prostitutes to Western Europe. The interview is introduced by the reporter's commentary as a result of which it becomes clear to the viewer that "Tibor" is a stereotyped "devil incarnate". The BBC reporter tries to illustrate his thesis by the interview that the women in question are on the whole pitiful, helpless passive victims of criminal practice. "Tibor" attempts to explain in the interview that reality is different. Hearing this, reporter Boazman throws a tantrum and his commentary becomes emotional. The overall impression from the film can hence be summed up in this statement: "British men who travel to Prague for sex thereby support organised crime and the sexual exploitation of women."
Petra Kutálková, deputy director of La Strada, has explained on Czech radio that the Czech Republic isn't a transit country for human trafficking, if anything it is a target country. It is estimated that not more than several dozen women are trafficked into the Czech Republic annually. This has been confirmed by the specialised unit of the Czech police dealing with these matters.
Irena Konečná points out that Boazman's film incorrectly presented all sexual services, even those that are legal in the Czech Republic, as human trafficking and forced prostitution. Some women are forced into prostitution in the Czech Republic, but these cases are exceptional. La Strada is trying to identify such victims, also by cooperating with their customers, and offers them help. La Strada is of the opinion that regarding all prostitutes as victims is incorrect and that moralising is counterproductive. With regard to women who work as prostitutes voluntarily, La Strada is helping to protect their human rights. La Strada is not trying to force them to change their profession.
Boazman's TV documentary ignores these facts. Konečná wonders why. She thinks that the BBC TV film team simply "wanted to make a sexy programme" regardless of the facts. Czech public service radio London reporter Ivan Kytka spoke about the hypocrisy of the British in his report on this matter.