Refugees who have questions about condoms, sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy now have an additional place on the internet to turn to for answers. Germany's Federal Center for Health Education recently launched Zanzu, an online portal available in 13 languages that offers information about sexual health, to educate the thousands of people flooding Europe as they flee dangerous conditions in countries like Syria.
"Migrants need understandable and relevant information on all sexual and reproductive health issues. The new online service allows just that ... the site gives them discrete and direct access to knowledge in this area," Parliamentary State Secretary Elke Ferner said in a news release. "They can use Zanzu to inquire about what rights they have, what laws, how the German health system works and where they can find counseling centers in their vicinity."
But the site, which went live in late February, was already seeing backlash. The Huffington Post noted Thursday that at least one critic had brought attention to Zanzu's "very explicit" images, and TeleSUR published an article detailing inflammatory comments Germans have made about Zanzu on social media.
"Stand by for a huge upsurge in rape and sexual assault once the migrants get a look at these illustrations," TeleSUR reported one person wrote in the comments. "Being illiterate, they won't be able to read the text — not that it would matter to them. The race replacement project [is] no longer hidden."
Many users were taking particular issue with illustrations on the site that show intercourse between men and women of different races. Others thought the information was suggestive of a misuse of funds.
"Everything is going down the drain, but the federal government launches a website where I can explore my body. Thank God!" wrote one commenter on YouTube.
German authorities insisted reaction to the resource had been very positive, especially because many refugees have come from countries where sex education is not standard.
Zanzu's debut came about two months after a series of New Year's Eve assaults in Cologne, Germany, that left police handling more than 1,000 complaints of groping, harassment, theft and rape. Afterward, victims and officials suggested many of the suspects were North African, helping anti-immigrant sentiment to spread throughout the country, NBC News reported. Investigations are still underway.