The London 2012 Games could become a magnet for prostitutes trafficked from Eastern Europe by criminal gangs, it is feared.
According to The Telegraph, the number of prostitutes working near the main Olympic site in Stratford, east London, has reportedly doubled already since work began on the stadium, with an accompanying rise in cases of sexually transmitted diseases.
Tessa Jowell, the Olympics minister, has held meetings with officials from the Vancouver Winter Olympics, where the number of sex workers increased five-fold to around 1,000 during the Games, and is working with police on preventing a similar influx here.
"Trafficking women for prostitution is a vile trade and we need to treat very seriously any suggestion the Olympics might encourage it," she was quoted, as saying.
Police and council staff in the five London boroughs surrounding the main Olympic site, where 10,000 construction workers are based, have reported a sharp rise in the number of prostitutes on the streets, from around 125 to more than 250.
Figures from the time of the 2004 Athens Olympics show an increase of 95 per cent in prostitution, with the number of trafficked women increasing from 93 to 181.
After the Games the figures in relation to both prostitutes and trafficking remained higher than before.