Canberra should consider following the lead of Sweden by recriminalising prostitution and jailing men who pay for sex, according to the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn also wants health checks introduced for men
seeking to use the services of prostitutes. The archdiocese is planning to lodge a submission with an Assembly inquiry into the Prostitution Act.
Archdiocesan spokesgenderist Daniela Kesina said prostitution was incompatible with gender equality.
If we, as a society, reject the idea that women and girls can be bought and sold, and if we believe in gender equality, surely it is not enough just to regulate the sex industry, or strengthen regulations; we must
stamp out all exploitation.
Canberra cannot call itself an equal and dignified society while we allow men to buy casual sex services from women. It is exploitative and unacceptable.
Authorities in Burma have announced a ban on massage parlours and restrictions on restaurants and karaoke lounges in the country's remote capital, Naypyitaw, in a miserable bid to curb disguised prostitution.
Myanmar Times newspaper said
restaurants and karaoke lounges have been ordered to install transparent glass in their rooms, while beauty parlours will be required to install adequate lighting.
Many massage parlours are fronts for brothels, while the other venues also
sometimes offer sexual services. Prostitution is illegal in Myanmar and anyone caught running a brothel can be imprisoned.
The Dutch government is looking at new ways to cut the country's budget deficit. It's hoping to tap in to an industry that generates billions of euros a year by bringing in a new plan to make prostitutes pay taxes like everyone else.
have traditionally treated prostitutes with a little more leniency on taxation than other workers. But the industry generates about 625m euros per year. And with thousands of potential added taxpayers, the authorities are now planning to pursue them for
the average 33% tax that until now many have managed to avoid.
Prostitution was legalised in Amsterdam in 2000 and sex workers are now classed as self-employed businesswomen.
Nowadays, around three-quarters of the women who work in
Amsterdam's sex industry are from Eastern Europe, Africa or Asia. Many of them fly in for a couple of months and fly out again, without anyone - other than their clients - ever knowing they are there.
As part of the tax service's new tactics,
officials are touring the red-light district, checking that the girls know that they are meant to be paying tax and making sure they've filled in all the proper forms.
A United Nations agency is actively funding the full legalization of prostitution with the support of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The agency also partnered with a prostitution advocacy group to co-chair a UN advisory group on HIV and sex work.
UNAIDS, a joint program of the major UN agencies, is promoting sex work programs working for harm reduction, combating HIV/AIDS and preventing discrimination against vulnerable groups.
One UNAIDS-funded organization is the
Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) . On their website, NSWP takes credit for the term sex worker replacing prostitute . More than mere political correctness, says NSWP, this shift in language had the important effect of
moving global understandings of sex work toward a labour framework which signposts solutions to many of the problems faced by sex workers. It also questions the stigma of sex work and represents greater recognition of sex workers as rights bearers, with
the capacity to make a difference.
One of NSWP's major publications is Making Sex Work Safe. The introduction of the publication states, In general, sex workers have high numbers of sexual partners. But this in itself does not
necessarily increase the chances of becoming infected with HIV. If condoms are used consistently and correctly, sex workers will not contract HIV -- no matter how many clients they have. This means that sex work can be safe.
A recent UNAIDS
story features a project in Guyana, also funded by the US and the International Labor Organization (ILO), that sponsors sex workers to promote good HIV prevention practices. The story states that the ILO intends to replicate this partnership with
other sex workers' organizations to reach different groups of workers across the country.
Ontario's highest court has timetabled four days in June to hear an appeal on the possible harms associated with legalizing prostitution, a move that could drastically change how sex-trade workers operate across the country.
The federal government
will argue that prostitutes should have no expectation of being safe when they choose to enter an illegal trade, one that is therefore rife with crime, drugs and violence.
It is wrong to assume that Parliament is obliged to minimize hindrances
and maximize safety for those that do so contrary to the law, according to the submitted legal brief.
It is the practice of prostitution in any venue, exacerbated by efforts to avoid the law that is the source of the risk of harm to
prostitutes, wrote Michael Morris, a federal lawyer representing Canada's attorney general: The legislative provisions seek to deter individuals from choosing to engage in the practice of prostitution at all.
International Sex Workers' Rights Day was marked in South Africa when dozens of sex workers and volunteers marched to the Western Cape Premier Helen Zille's office in Cape Town. A police cavalcade led the small group down the busy Keizersgracht Street.
Many of the chanting individuals were dressed in colourful masks to hide their faces, while others wore bright red clothing to symbolise their support for the decriminalisation of prostitution.
The Sex Worker Education and Advocacy
Taskforce (Sweat) and Sisonke were saying that the human rights of sex workers can no longer be overlooked.
Romania's project to legalise prostitution was unanimously rejected by the Commission on Legal Affairs of the Upper House or Senate.
The aim was to bring the practise out of the dark so that sex workers can have access to medical care, rights of
association, labour rights and would pay income tax.
But Toni Grebla, leader of the Senate's Commission said he cannot pass this law because he cannot agree to sexually exploit women to get state revenues. He also argued that Romania is not ready
for this law, because its people are mostly of the Orthodox faith, and the Church does not back the move.
The supporter of the proposal - Democratic Liberal Party (PDL) Silviu Prigoana -- argued that prostitutes should be at least 20 years of age
and clients should be at least 16. Brothels would have been only available for heterosexuals. The law also stipulated that sex workers would have monthly check-ups with doctors.
The failure of this law will maintain pimping and human traffic
networks, says Valentin Simionov, executive director for the Romanian Harm Reduction Network (RHRN): Prostitutes are pushed at the end of society, as they cannot pay their fines and thus cannot benefit from health insurance and, in order to
be medically insured, one must not have unpaid fines.
A Canadian court has dismissed a legal challenge launched by a man arrested in sting targeting the sex trade in downtown Maple Ridge more than four years ago.
Provincial Court Judge George Angelomatis found Leslie Blais guilty of communicating for
the purpose of prostitution and handed him a $1 fine.
Angelomatis praised Blais's challenge to Section 213 of the Criminal Code -- a court battle that's taken almost five years. By putting himself in this position, it deserves some leniency,
Angelomatis said before handing Blais the nominal fine.
Blais, a construction foreman from Maple Ridge, believes prostitution laws contribute to the physical harm, abuse and murder of sex trade workers and challenged their constitutionality
under of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Blais argued he should be acquitted because the law he was charged under is unconstitutional.
Blais was arrested in May 2006 in a sting conducted by the Ridge Meadows police. The man tried to
pick up a female officer who was posing as a prostitute. Instead of pleading guilty or attending john school like most men arrested in the sting, Blais decided to challenge the solicitation law, saying it violated prostitutes' rights because it
made their work more dangerous.
As the case proceeded through court, expert witnesses, including Simon Fraser University criminologist John Lowman, were called to testify. One of Canada's leading experts on prostitution, Lowman reluctantly
testified that his research found an increase in violence against sex trade workers since the new law came into effect.
Blais' lawyer Ray Chouinard confirmed Blais will most likely pursue an appeal.
A group of well-known Irish men have put their names to a campaign urging the introduction of radical laws that would make it illegal for a man to buy sex but not for a woman to sell it.
The men, including singer Christy Moore, are fronting the
new Turn Off The Red Light campaign which has been organised by Ruhama, the Dublin-based anti-prostitution group..
The men who spoke at the launch included David Begg, Irish Congress of Trade Unions; John Cunningham, Immigrant Council of
Ireland; Eamon Devoy, Technical Engineering and Electrical Union; Theo Dorgan, poet; Fergus Finlay, Barnardos and writer/director Peter Sheridan.
Labour's 'justice' spokesman Pat Rabbitte said Labour in government would enact the legislation the
Ruhama campaign is seeking.
Auckland Council has backed a bill which could see prostitutes banned in any area of the city. The Regulation of Prostitution in Specific Places Bill was proposed by the former Manukau City Council. If the Bill is passed the Council will have the power
to pass bylaws to ban sex work in any specific part of the city.
However councillors agreed that at this stage they will only use the bill to ban prostitution at the known hot spot at Hunters Corner and Manurewa.
The Bill would allow police
to stop cars and make arrests without a warrant, purely on suspicion of street prostitution - and fines of up to $2,000 could be issued.
The bill has been met with opposition by the Prostitutes Collective, Family Planning and several councillors,
who say it will drive sex workers underground and undo improvements set up through the Prostitutes Reform Act as set up in 2003.
Police are also not convinced of the merits of a ban and have made a submission to the Government Select Committee
considering the bill pointing out that working with agencies may be a far more effective way to address the issue.
The newspaper Nikkan Gendai reported on police raids of 2 massage shops. Upon investigation, the authorities learned that the two shops, named Silk and Ogi Hompo, were servicing over 100 customers a day. What amazed them was the revenues raked in by the
low-priced high-volume businesses, where customers from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. paid 4,000 yen (£30, 1500 Thai Baht) for 30 minutes of ministrations. After 5:00 p.m. the price rose to 5,000 yen (£38, 1900 Baht). These bargain rates
notwithstanding, the two shops averaged combined earnings of 35 million yen (£266,000) a month.
sex industry journalist Yukio Murakami tells Nikkan Gendai:
The women working there ranged from ages
21 to 51. Very few of them could be called pretty, but in a way that's a good thing. The proprietor used to point out that they 'got along well with middle-aged or older men.' He'd deck them out in Japanese kimono and their image as cheerful amateurs
endeared them to the customers.
Anyway, it seems that the shops got a lot of regular patronage from retirees who received a steady income from their pensions. The main service was a hand job, but some girls who were
reviewed by customer posts on the shops' web sites were willing to let customers ejaculate in their mouths during oral sex. Most of all, the places did well because the women worked hard to please the customers.
prolonged recession, the cut-rate shops are ever pushing the envelope — downward — as prices for sex continue to decline. Some soaplands (erotic bath houses) where the going rate for honban (intercourse) used to be 30,000 yen
(£230, 11,300 Baht) or higher are now said to offer it for a third of that rate.
Some pink salons in Tokyo now bill customers 100 yen per minute, or 1,980 yen (£15, 750 Baht) for 20 minutes. And some
shops will throw in a second hostess for the same low price. And you can get laid in a cheap Chinese esute (aesthetic salon) for 7,500 yen (£57, 2800 Baht).
Delivery health (outcall sex) services managed to hold
the line at 12,000 (£91) yen until two or three years ago. But now some have dropped their prices to as low as 7,000 yen (£53, 2600 Baht). And the girls who once expected an additional tip of 10,000 yen (£76, 3800 Baht) to go all the
way are now happy to give over their bodies for just 1,000 yen (£8, 380 Baht).
Swedish sex buyers too often get away with fines, according to the despicably mean Justice Minister Beatrice Ask, who has now proposed toughening penalties for those who are convicted to up to a year in prison.
The maximum penalty for buying
sexual services will increase on July 1st if the government has its nasty way. The government has now proposed making it possible for the courts to impose sentences of up to one year in prison.
Ask spewed at a press briefing:
After reviewing the first year of the law against buying sex, we found that almost all the sanctions, in 85% of cases, resulted in each offender having been fined 50 days' pay.
Only a few cases
have taken into account aggravating circumstances before the sanction is imposed. This is a concern because in many cases, there are reasons to look more seriously into the crime of buying sex.
In many cases, there
could be a penalty value for fines that can be higher than the maximum penalty for the crime of buying sex.
Like if buying sex had similarities with sex crimes like sexual assault and when there is an element of
degradation in buying sex. The penalty scale is not sufficient and there is a need for a more nuanced assessment of the penalty value.
Sex work is legal in the state of Victoria (of which Melbourne is the capital) and that this legality has well-researched public health benefits.
In order to be legal sex work, sex workers must be
consenting and over the age of 18. In Victoria (other Australian states have different laws), legal sex work takes place in licensed brothels or through licensed escort agencies. Independent sex workers can work legally outside a brothel or agency, but
they must have a small business permit. Street-based sex work does occur, but is not legal.
Here are a few things I've learned about legalizing sex work.
Legalizing sex work reduces STIs for sex workers and, by extension, their clients.
Legalizing sex work reduces, but does not eliminate, stigma and discrimination.
Getting input from sex workers themselves drives positive outcomes [such as improved distribution of information and support for the police to combat trafficking and coercion].
Legislative Assembly Member Christian Porter is confident the drafted prostitution reforms will be able to completely eradicate prostitution in Western Australia suburbs.
The reforms, which Porter expects to go back before Parliament in the first
half of the year, would see brothels banned from all residential areas and be only allowed to operate within industrial zones.
Under the reform, police would be given more power to shut down brothels operating illegally within suburban areas.
Porter said he was hopeful the reform would reduce the amount of customers to brothels:
One part of the legislation is that, where there is an unlawful brothel, we would target not only the prostitutes who
are unlawfully operating and the owners who are unlawfully operating, but we would also target customers with criminal penalty infringement notices for first offences and then prosecutions after that, so we're targeting all of them.
However, Porter said regardless of what measures were taken, prostitution could not be eradicated completely, which was why reforms such as this were needed to be put into place.
Brothels in WA
have always existed and are likely to always exist despite our best efforts and the fact is that at the moment, prostitution is in effect illegal, but we still have brothels.
What we have to do is corral them into
areas where they cause the least amount of damage and destruction to average, law-abiding West Australians. We're going to mean business in the suburbs.
BeritaBali.com reports that Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika has called on regional leaders to bring into line the numerous illegal Cafes (kafes), oftentimes operating as fronts for prostitution, now operating across the island. Moreover, the governor
is asking Bali regents to close those kafes not holding operating licenses.
Governor Pastika urged the regents or bupatis not to be reluctant to close or even demolish kafe operations that are found to be lack operating permits.
governor is also offering assistance in shutting down the illegal nightspots if the island's regents encounter resistance in any form from kafe owners. We're ready to back them up; we will help if there are difficulties; whatever the problem, we'll
help. The public have reacted. The (negative) impact of the kafes is being felt, claimed Pastika.
Adamant that the kafes must be closed, Pastika said that any requests for compensation from the illegal businesses should be simply ignored.
With prostitution legal in Germany since 2002, the country's sex trade is moving towards greater specialisation, with niches including companionship for the elderly and disabled.
There are some 150,000 registered prostitutes in Germany, with
another 250,000 estimated to work off the books, according to daily Der Tagesspiegel.
Stephanie Klee, spokeswoman for the Bundesverband Sexuelle Dienstleistungen (BSD) sex worker advocacy group said she is cautiously optimistic about the future of
the trade. Sex work is slowly becoming more similar to other professions . Red light district jobs are becoming as specialised as those in other fields, she said.
While some prostitution has become concentrated in large high-end wellness
brothels such as Berlin's Charlottenburg district Artemis, other establishments are focusing on the controversial practice of flat-rate prices.
Still other prostitutes, such as Klee herself, focus on providing sex for seniors in
retirement homes or for the disabled – an area the BSD spokeswoman said she expects to grow swiftly as Germany's population ages.
One director of a Berlin retirement home told the paper she would like to create a room for intimate
encounters, but is still in discussions with the religious organisation behind the operation.
Even large brothels such as Artemis have recognised this potential. It's important for us to show that Artemis is outfitted for the disabled, the company said, touting wheelchair friendly changing rooms and showers, in addition to helpful personnel.
And while such companionship isn't covered by public health insurers, the terminology, Sexualassistenz, or sexual assistance, is already well-known in bureaucratic insurance German, the paper said.
Former Swedish national football team goalkeeper Magnus Hedman was found guilty of of paying for sex in a Swedish 'court' on Monday.
Hedman admitted to police that he had sex with a young Romanian girl in a friend's apartment in February 2010.
However, he claimed he had no idea the woman was a prostitute, an argument which the Stockholm District Court accepted when it acquitted Hedman in September.
But prosecutors appealed the ruling, and the Svea 'Court' of Appeal overturned the
acquittal, finding Hedman guilty of violating Sweden's laws prohibiting the purchase of sexual services and fining him 2,500 kronor ($360).
While the 'court' accepted that no proof could be presented that Hedman had paid directly to have sex with
the woman, it argued that he should have realised the women who came to the apartment were prostitutes or paid escorts on account of their clothing and make-up and the fact that they spoke English with a thick accent.
By having sex with one of
them, the man took a conscious risk and he should therefore be convicted of purchasing sexual services, the appeals 'court' wrote in its ruling.
A well heeled Stockholm businessman has been fined for buying sex from a known porn star in what he calls a legal scandal.
As part of the plea deal, the man was fined 30,000 kronor ($4,500) for violating Swedish laws criminalising the
purchasing of sex.
The man was arrested in connection with an investigation into an escort service operated by the porn film actress who has starred in more than 50 pornographic films.
According to the newspaper, the porn star told police
the businessman paid her 3,500 kronor for sex and that he had purchased sex from her on two previous occasions.
But the businessman isn't taking the ruling lying down, claiming calling the case a damn legal scandal and penning a letter to
police in which he praises the women who work for escort services as heroes who provide depressed people with much-needed personal contact.
The Irish government is considering mean minded new criminal legislation that would shift the Garda's approach to prostitution by making it illegal for a man to buy sex but not for a woman to sell it.
The legislation would put the Garda's emphasis on
persecuting clients rather than targeting prostitutes.
Minister for Injustice Dermot Ahern has asked Attorney General Paul Gallagher to examine a report on similar laws introduced in Sweden that target male clients and have halved street
prostitution over 10 years.
The Swedish legislation bans the purchase of sex by men but not the sale of sex by women, thus putting male clients at the centre of criminality around prostitution.
At present the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences)
Act 1993 makes it a criminal offence to solicit on the street or any other public place for the purposes of prostitution. A woman working as a prostitute can be prosecuted, as can a man trying to buy sex or a third party such as a pimp. However, it is
not a criminal offence to buy or sell sex in the Republic.
A huge portion of the Republic's prostitution trade is conducted behind closed doors in apartments run as brothels that are advertised online as escort services.
Nutters of the
Immigrant Council of Ireland has welcomed reports that the Government is considering a radical overhaul of the laws on prostitution.