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Cablegate: German Reporter Raises Old Views of Child

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. The Czech press in late April renewed its coverage of
child prostitution in Cheb, a Czech town on the German
border. Czech dailies described the account of a German
television reporter who asked in a club for sex with
children and was taken by one of the girls working there to
a flat, where he was shown the 12 year old girl and told the
price would be 200 Euros. His videotape, allegedly
documenting the offer, is currently with police, who are
investigating the case.

2. Claims of rampant child prostitution are nothing new to
the small border town of Cheb, the object of a 2003 study by
Catherine Schauer of the German NGO KARO. Though Schauer
(who accompanied the reporter during his trip) claimed that
Cheb was a "haven" for pedophilia, her report was contested
by local police, who said that Schauer had refused to
cooperate with them, share her evidence, or document her
sources. Nonetheless, Schauer's report caused nationwide
action about the problem, and a special police team ("Eger")
was formed in 2004 specifically to deal with child
prostitution in Cheb. Since 1997, seven cases of commercial
sexual exploitation of children (child sex tourism) have
been investigated in Cheb.

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3. Although the seven investigated cases involved seven
separate criminals, this is not true for the other number
mentioned in the press. Sixty cases of "endangering the
morals of juveniles" were investigated in 2004, but these 60
cases involved only three criminals, who offered the same
twelve children to foreigners seeking child sex and then
robbed them instead. These cases were investigated under
the endangerment statute as there was found to be no
evidence of actual sexual assault on the children involved.

4. Police in Cheb claim that reports that child sex
tourism is rampant in Cheb aggravate the existing problem in
the town by associating the two in the minds of consumers,
most of whom are German. This sentiment is echoed by
Interior Minister Frantisek Bublan, whose Ministry heads
anti-trafficking efforts in the Czech Republic. As per the
cases mentioned in paragraph three, police in Cheb claim
Cheb's profile as a "haven" has instigated a new crime:
child sex being used as bait to trap and rob foreign
consumers, who are then often too ashamed to report the
crime to the authorities. This was also the fate of the
reporter, who later told police (but not the media) he was
robbed of the 200 Euros he was going to be charged for the
12 year old girl.

5. Comment: As acknowledged in this year's TIP report,
the Czechs continue to take anti-trafficking efforts in
their country very seriously. While they recognize the
problems in Cheb and are working on them, sensational media
accounts by reporters unfamiliar with the issue do nothing
to help combat TIP in Cheb and possibly augment the existing
problem. Police, however, take every account earnestly, and
are currently investigating these most recent claims. KARO
likewise continues its work in Cheb, though currently
hindered by financial woes that forced the NGO to downsize
from six to two staff in January 2005.


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