In comments that were quickly denied by the Philippine government, U.S. ambassador Harry Thomas claims that 40% of male visitors to the country go there for sex.
Thomas told a forum of Philippine judges and officials:
We know that 40% of foreign men who come to the Philippines, including from the U.S., come for sexual tourism. That is not something I'm proud of. That's not something you should be proud of.
Thomas said the sex
trade is popular in karaoke bars and clubs along Roxas Boulevard, a main thoroughfare in Manila that also houses the U.S. embassy. He added:
Corruption allows these notorious establishments to continue to operate.
Local officials will look the other way or accept favors. These officials are doubly guilty.
Tourism assistant secretary Domingo Enario disputed the claims and said: We are not sure where his statistics are coming from.
According to AFP, the allegations come as the country is embarked on a campaign to increase tourism to the country from
an all-time high of 3.52 million visitors last year to a target goal of 6 million by 2016. Whether a crackdown on the sex trade will make that target number more or less achievable remains to be seen.
Politician gets in his two-penneth
29th September 2011. From journal.com.ph
Law enforcers should dismantle large scale sex tour syndicates to effectively purge the rampant sex trade and prostitution in the country, claimed Senator
Aquilino Pimentel III.
It is the sex tour organizers and operators who are responsible for the upsurge of prostitution in the country, Pimentel claimed. Sex tourism refers to a program organized by travel and tourism-related establishments
and individuals which consists of tourism packages or activities, utilizing and offering escort and sexual services as enticement for tourists.
Pimentel appealed to law enforcement agencies to intensify their anti-sex trafficking campaign by
focusing on Internet sites that openly promote sex tourism in the Philippines.
Are there ANY such large scale operations organising sex tours? From my experience, people organise their trips via totally mainstream travel and
accommodation services that have nothing to do with sex. Then when they arrive, they independently start off their quest for fun via the easy to find nightlife areas. No need whatsoever of a guide or pre-booking or anything like that.
The Ukrainian women's movement FEMEN has staged a topless protest against what they say are UEFA's plans to turn economically weak Ukraine into a destination for sex tourists from around the globe.
Ukraine is to co-host Euro 2012 together with
Poland next summer, but FEMEN see nothing good in a major football tournament coming to their country.
Four of the movement's activists shouted slogans like Ukraine is a brothel and Euro 2012 without prostitution .
on FEMEN's blog said something a little but too complicated for the translator:
FEMEN consistently criticizes UEFA for its policies of corrupting the fans and artificially cultivating fanaticism, aggression, moral and
mental degradation in them. The European plodder, who does not go beyond the 'football-beer-bang' formula, is the portrait of a 'superhuman', according to the football bureaucracy. For the 'high' right to host Euro 2012, the Ukrainians are obliged to
give away all of their little wealth to be plundered by Platini's charges, with the most famous of them being the women.
The movement demands that European football's governing body initiate an awareness campaign against sex-tourism
and financing of the sex industry among fans, and also want customers of prostitutes to face criminal charges.
Update: And again at the opening of a new sports stadium
Topless women were arrested at the opening ceremony for the Euro 2012 stadium in Kiev after they invaded the pitch as part of a feminist protest. One woman
had to be carried off the pitch by a steward, wearing only a pair of black leggings with two flowers painted over her breasts.
The Ukrainian activists, Femen, who have a history of getting their kit off to promote their causes, believe the
tournament will increase sex tourism in their country. Bare with me: A steward drags a topless activist off the pitch at the Euro 2012 opening ceremony in Kiev
The demonstrators said in a statement: Femen demands that UEFA initiate an
explanatory campaign for football fans about the impermissibility of sex tourism and funding the sex industry, and the Ukrainian authorities criminalise the visiting of prostitutes.
A Czech prostitution bill has been debated at a conference in Prague.
University attendees concurred that the bill does not take into account the rights of those who offer sexual services. The law should not only address the needs of the state and
municipalities but also of those of the prostitutes, namely protect them against violence, remove the stigma of being unacceptable from them and give them more rights in relation to their clients, the experts said.
The participants in the
conference were generally appreciative that the bill setting the rules for prostitution in the Czech Republic has been allowed to develop as issues have been identified.
However Blanka Hancilova, analyst at the University of Vienna, said the
latest version of the Czech bill on prostitution plans to introduce repressive measure against prostitutes. She said she believes this would not lead to a long-term solution of the problem. Hancilova said municipalities should seek ways of reintegration
of prostitutes into society instead of forcing them out of their centres.
According to the latest proposal worked out by Prague authorities, prostitution should be a legal profession, persons offering sexual services would get registered and
receive certificates as well as pay taxes and undergo regular medical examinations and face fines if they violated the rules.
Barbara Havelkova, from the Law Faculty at Oxford University, said that the introduction of compulsory medical check-ups
has not improved the situation either as clients and pimps pressurise prostitutes with medical certificates to have sex without condoms far more often.
Beijing police have implemented a major operation against escorts working in hotels and expensive residential buildings.
The move is though to be significant as it may lead to action against foreign patrons of prostitutions, and possibly involve
foreign investors and diplomats, observers said.
The police have arrested a total 112 sex workers including 27 foreign nationals from raids on four businesses.
The case involved the highest number of foreign arrests in Beijing... The
crackdown aims to eradicate all social evils that go against the city's endeavors to advocate a healthy, civilized and high-minded lifestyle, the police said in a press release.
The operation involved 340 policemen, who have seized 10 vehicles
and 100 mobile phones and 60,000 printed fliers used for soliciting customers.
The usual price for sex workers' services vary from $100 to $400, but escort girls provided by escort companies may charge a lot more. Some hotels, massage
parlors and karoke music joints are known to provide similar services.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of islands in the Bay of Bengal and is a Union Territory of India.
A 'shock' report by journalist Zubair Ahmed has highlighted the islands' potential for holiday fun.
How times have changed at the
once staid Port Blair, capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Now Ahmed writes:
Hordes of girls from Diglipur, Havelock and even Little Andaman come to the city for prostitution. Everyone accepts it.
Worse, sexual favors are now being widely used by smart workers who exploit the weakness of their bosses for money, appointment, transfer, relatives' appointment, promotions and also to get even with rivals in service.
The malaise has reached a stage where it has started hurting the simple, innocent and hardworking women employees who wish to remain faithful to their husbands and family values. It is being discussed in drawing rooms and in coffee
houses; though in hushed tones.
These are a few incidents sufficient to gauge the depth of the abyss the Island society has plunged into. The rot in the society is visible to the naked eye.
two consenting adults from having sex in government guest houses and bathrooms; it is not a cognisable offence either. But when sex of senior government officers moves up from their groins and occupies the space in their brains, it assumes maniac
proportion and become a matter for public concern.
Without accountability and fear of God, we cannot expect a major change.
Illicit Flirtations: Labor, Migration, and Sex Trafficking in Tokyo by Rhacel Parrenas offers a scholarly, sociological portrait of Filipina hostesses and waitresses in Tokyo's red-light districts that is clear and compelling enough for the lay
reader. To write this book, the author herself worked as a hostess in a Tokyo nightclub.
In 2004, the U.S. State Department declared Filipina hostesses in Japan the largest group of sex trafficked persons in the world. Since receiving this global
attention, the number of hostesses entering Japan has dropped by nearly 90%, from more than 80,000 in 2004 to just over 8,000 today.
To some, this might suggest a victory for the global anti-trafficking campaign, but Rhacel Parrenas counters that
this drastic decline which has stripped thousands of migrants of their livelihoods.
Parrenas worked alongside hostesses in a working-class club in Tokyo's red-light district, serving drinks, singing karaoke, and entertaining her customers,
including members of the yakuza, the Japanese crime syndicate. While the common assumption has been that these hostess bars are hotbeds of sexual trafficking, Parrenas quickly discovered a different world of working migrant women, there by choice, and,
most importantly, where none were coerced into prostitution. But this is not to say that the hostesses were not vulnerable in other ways.
Illicit Flirtations challenges our understandings of human trafficking and calls into question the U.S.
policy to broadly label these women as sex trafficked. It highlights how in imposing top-down legal constraints to solve the perceived problems--including laws that push dependence on migrant brokers, guest worker policies that bind migrants to an
employer, marriage laws that limit the integration of migrants, and measures that criminalize undocumented migrants--many women become more vulnerable to exploitation, not less.
This book gives a long overdue look into the real world of those
labeled as trafficked.
Sex workers in New Zealand expect to be rushed off their feet as 95,000 sports fans arrive for the Rugby World Cup, with brothels across the country doubling condom orders for the tournament.
Brennan, a dominatrix who runs a bondage brothel in Wellington and is known as Madam Mary to her clients, said she had already received pre-bookings from South Africa, England, Ireland and Canada.
The English are
known to be particularly deviant, she said, citing the public school background of many England rugby fans. Whenever I hear an English accent I know there'll be some good business there.
introduced some of the world's most liberal prostitution laws eight years ago, when sex work was decriminalised, allowing brothels and street workers to operate legally New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective coordinator Catherine Healy said many visitors
during the September 9-October 23 tournament would be surprised at how openly the industry operates.
Eva Buschi, a professor at the School of Social Work of the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland, interviewed managers of sex establishments for a study entitled Violence in the Sex Business and concluded that lack of regulation
was a major problem for both sex workers and the establishments themselves.
In other businesses workers get contracts, in which the tasks to be performed, the price and how long they should take are clearly laid down. In the sex business today
this is mostly not the case, she told swissinfo.ch.
One problem is that managers of sex establishments are afraid of falling foul of the law forbidding the promotion of prostitution, she explained.
But the study shows that violence is a
daily reality in the business. It occurs among customers, between the managers and the workers, and among the workers themselves. However, the managers of the businesses often downplay the issue. They tend to see their main problem as social
Given that the legal sex business generates a turnover put at 3.5 billion Swiss Francs ($4.4 billion) per year, Buschi says it should be approached pragmatically, ensuring that workers are given the best possible conditions.
If sex work is professionalised, it will help destigmatise the work, and be easier to draw a divide between legal and illegal sex providers, the study says. Both owners and clients will find it harder to put pressure on the workers, and that in turn will
give them extra protection and make it easier to confront problems. The greater the pressure on sex workers, the greater the danger that they will, for example, accept a drunken client or agree to perform their services without a condom.
authorities in Nidau in canton Bern have already introduced conditions for granting permits to would-be sex establishments. The move was regarded as a possible model for the rest of the country.
The managers of the establishments have to guarantee
that the women are declared as sex workers and not as tourists, and that they are in the country legally. They must give the women information leaflets in their own languages about their rights and duties -- including that they must declare their
earnings to the tax authorities. Nor must the managers charge excessive prices for rooms or slap on unreasonable extra charges. In addition, the local advisory centre must be given unlimited access to the sex workers.
The police can make
unannounced visits to check that the rules are being followed.
I had to smile at the news that the arrival of the Queen, plus assorted Heads of State, was cause for celebration by sex workers in Western Australia. Briefly, I found myself giggling at the whole new light this shone on headlines
about Her Majesty down under .
Then I sobered up. Because this, back to back with another story I covered last year in the Register, illustrates neatly and nastily the hypocrisy and couldn't-care-less attitude
of politicians and journalists who publically profess to care about women - and privately don't.
Interest groups, the media, and the U.S. government have given very high estimates of the number of persons trafficked each year into the sex industry or other labor arenas. In some instances, the numbers appear to be pulled out of
thin air, as in a Washington Post editorial (June 28, 2011) declaring that trafficking is understood today as a global phenomenon exceeding 20 million cases each year. Or consider a November 2005 episode of Oprah, in which it was claimed that millions
of children are trafficked into prostitution each year. The U.S. Government's figures are lower -- 800,000 worldwide victims (down from an estimated 4 million in 2000) and 14,500-17,500 domestic victims (down from a high of 50,000 in 2000) -- though
the sources of these figures have never been disclosed.
There is a stark difference between the official estimates and the tiny number of victims identified and rescued each year or the number of traffickers brought to
justice, both domestically and internationally. Worldwide, the State Department reported in 2010 that only 0.4% of the estimated number of victims have been officially located and assisted. No one would claim that the official estimates could possibly
match the number of identified victims -- given the obstacles to locating victims in illicit, underground markets -- but the huge disparity between the two should at least raise doubts about the alleged scale of victimization.
The German city of Bonn has introduced parking meters for prostitutes in an attempt to tax the world's oldest profession.
Prostitutes working the streets of the old West German capital now have to buy tickets from converted machines that once
dispensed parking ticket.
A one night permit to work will cost a prostitute back £ 5.30, irrespective of the number of clients they have.
The machines also tell users the times of day when a ticket
Monika Frombgen, a spokeswoman for Bonn city council, said the ticket machines would bring street prostitutes into line with their peers who are taxed when working registered brothels. She said: This is an act of tax fairness .
Prostitutes in fixed establishments such as brothels and sauna clubs already pay tax.
Inspectors will prowl the streets and any prostitute caught without a ticket will receive a warning for a first offence, but after that faces the
possibility of a fine or a ban from working.
Sex workers are hoping to cash in on overseas and interstate visitors to Perth during October's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Perth madam Mary-Anne Kenworthy said sex workers would be out in force while more than 50 heads of
state and their entourages are in town. She said she would double her workforce and expected to double her profits.
The eyes are lighting up. The dimples are out again, Ms Kenworthy said with a laugh: I have the potential to increase my
turnover 80 to 100 per cent during CHOGM.
The event runs from October 28-30 and will attract at least 1000 media representatives from around the world.
Ms Kenworthy said the city's roaring sex trade would not be hidden from the CHOGM
dignitaries because it was very likely that Western Australia would then be in the grip of a parliamentary debate about legalising prostitution. Attorney-General Christian Porter said Perth had nothing to be ashamed of for debating prostitution during
Ms Kenworthy said she planned to spruce up her Langtrees establishment in Perth and employ at least 20 more sex workers. She would also expand escort services and charge $4000 a night for her best girl . It won't be that sort of
clientele where they just need the physical sex. It will be more the mental sex because of the age of people," she said somewhat cheekily.
According to the miserable anti-prostitution campaigners of Ruhama, there has been an increase in the number of women becoming involved in prostitution in Ireland.
The campaigners claim that the number it saw last year increased by 4%, a quarter
of whom were new sex workers.
Ruhama also claim that while the numbers being trafficked into the country for sexual exploitation has remained around the same level, there has been a significant increase in on street prostitution.
predictably calling for the introduction of new legislation to criminalise people using sex workers.
On any day Ruhama says 1,000 women and girls work in apartments, hotels, private clubs, massage parlours and on the streets of cities and towns
all over the country.
In its annual report the organisation says it helped two hundred and four people last year, an increase of four per cent on 2009. About 51 of those were claimed to be new to the trade, and it claimed about about 70 had been
Arguably the sex tourism capital of the world, Thailand is now deliberately using the family tourism label to shed the sex destination tag, a Thai diplomat said here Friday.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of an event organised in Panaji to
promote Thailand as a tourism destination, Tomwit Jarnson, the Thai consul general in Mumbai, said family tourism would eventually edge Thailand away from the slur of sex tourism in the years to come: We are trying to project Thailand as a
family tourism destination. We are slowly changing the perception of Thailand to the rest of the world .
We are slowly developing facilities in Thailand which will attract family tourism. We have a lot of Indian families who travel to
Thailand, Jarnson said.
He further said that the Thailand tourism authorities were trying to project Phuket - which, along with Bangkok and Pattaya, is regarded as the prime sex tourism area in Thailand - as a family tourism destination.
Prostitution is common place in the tourism districts of Thailand, which nearly 14 million tourists visit annually, a large chunk of these are single males or male groups of tourists seeking sex or sex-oriented fun.
The mayor of a small Italian town has suggested the legalisation of prostitution in an attempt to address economic crisis.
Altopascio Mayor Maurizio Marchetti has proposed the creation of red light districts throughout Italy to combat budgeting
shortfalls, ANSA reported.
Today this is a totally illegal industry where you see employment of between 70,000 and 100,000 people, according to estimates. I can already imagine the criticism, but I am asking
everyone -- is it moral for a person to work illegally earning 10,000 euros a month and feeding a criminal underworld, while there are people who are working honestly and cannot get to the end of the month?
In Iraqi Kurdistan, one female MP is fighting a lonely battle: legalised prostitution.
Haza Sulaiman's efforts to regulate and control the trade in northern Iraq's three Kurdish provinces have so far run into widespread opposition from rival lawmakers
and religious groups, but Sulaiman remains undeterred.
The women's rights activist and current head of the Kurdish parliament's women's rights committee said:
We need a special law for the region -- Iraqi
law is not consistent with the reality on the ground here,
I have many concerns over the associated issues if we do not organise it under a new law -- those who practice prostitution must be subject to periodic tests
to monitor their health and prevent the spread of disease.
At present, Kurdistan is subject to a 1988 law that applies to all of Iraq and bars prostitution entirely, but reserves punishment only for sex workers, not their
At present, an encounter with a teenage prostitute typically costs $150, with prices decreasing as the girls' ages rise. A several-hour non-sexual encounter where a prostitute dances in front of a client costs $200, with sex costing
Sulaiman tried to submit a law legalising and regulating prostitution in 2010, but parliament was inquorate when she proposed that it be scheduled for discussion, after the powerful legal committee did not back it.
A Zimbabwe MP is sponsoring a Private Members' Bill to legalise prostitution, claiming it would stop the physical abuse of sex workers and allow for effective strategies to curb the spread of HIV in the oldest profession .
Bulawayo East MP
Thabitha Khumalo says she is trying to drum up support among legislators for the controversial law reforms before tabling the Bill.
SADC has set a 2015 target to reduce new HIV infections by 50%. There is a popular belief in Zimbabwe that
prostitutes are the biggest drivers of the HIV spread, and if that's the case then we can't meet our targets without engaging the sex workers.
Khumalo says legitimising the work of pleasure engineers , as she called the prostitutes,
would allow for a more open interaction with HIV groups and the police to curb both the spread of the disease and stop physical abuse of women: We need to find out how they live; what hazards to their personal security they face and any barriers they
face in accessing treatment for various health issues including HIV. At the moment they face discrimination, denial of access to drugs and many just go underground and that's dangerous.
The Sihlquai red-light area is one of about a dozen areas in the Swiss financial capital where sex workers are permitted to ply their trade, and most of these women have their papers in order, pay their taxes, and travelled from
eastern Europe legally to sell their bodies in one of the richest cities in the world.
But a backlash is brewing as Switzerland opens its borders to more foreign workers, which in turn brings more sex workers, forcing a
radical re-think of some of the most liberal prostitution laws in Europe.
By early next year, these women may be forced from the Sihlquai and relocated to Switzerland's first drive-through red light district in an
industrial area on the fringes of the city. Based on a similar model in Germany, customers will pull off the road and into a meticulously organised compound, cruise by women standing in a designated area displaying their bodies, before picking one up and
backing into one of about 10 sex boxes complete with privacy walls and a security alarm.
It is part of an overhaul that includes reducing the number of areas in the city where prostitutes can legally work from
11 to three and introducing police interviews for migrants hoping to get permits to work as prostitutes in the city.
While advocacy groups working with the prostitutes fear that the policies may drive more women
underground, the city insists they are necessary to both protect the women and calm public anger over the social annoyances that curb crawlers bring.
We're just trying to find a way to live with the phenomenon
without having too much harm done, says Claudia Nielsen, the Zurich city councillor for health and environment. We have no certainty that it will work out. What we know is we can't continue the way it worked up until now, and we also know we can't
The Yuan, Taiwan's legislature, has decided to hold public hearings during its next session on a controversial amendment that would allow the establishment of legal red-light areas in cities and counties in Taiwan, according to lawmakers.
is a draft amendment to the Social Order and Maintenance Act that would legalize prostitution in specially designated areas.
The Executive Yuan adopted the amended bill, which rules that those involved in the sex trade, including prostitutes and
those who seek out their services, outside special designated red light areas would be liable for a fine of up to NT$30,000 (US$1,040).
The current law prohibits sex work as harmful to social norms of behavior and punishes only sex workers, mainly
women, who are subject to a maximum of three days detention or a fine of up to NT$30,000. However, those who solicit the services of a prostitute cannot be prosecuted. Earlier this year, the Council of Grand Justices of the Constitutional Court ruled
that existing regulations concerning prostitution violate the Constitution, and therefore ruled that they should be annulled, a ruling that takes effect on 1st November 2011.
However, the proposal has received only a lukewarm response from local
governments, with surveys conducted by local media suggesting almost all of the 22 cities and counties around Taiwan are not interested in establishing legal red light areas, because of concerns about the supposed impact on social order.
In a move which could lead to the formal regulation of prostitution in India, the Supreme Court is mulling laying down conditions conducive for sex workers to carry on their profession with dignity.
A bench presided over by Justice
Markandey Katju, which had earlier talked about rehabilitation of sex workers, has sought suggestions on formulating conditions which would enable those who wished to continue working as sex workers to do so with dignity. Holding that the
right to live with dignity was a constitutional right, the bench constituted a panel comprising senior advocates and NGOs to look into the problems faced by sex workers and give suggestions to protect their fundamental rights.
To ensure effective
implementation of rehabilitation and other schemes, the court directed the Centre and state governments to undertake surveys to ascertain how many sex workers wanted rehabilitation and submit reports to the panel constituted by it. It is estimated that
there are over 3 million female commercial sex workers in India.
Though prostitution per se is not illegal, the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 makes certain acts relating to prostitution an offence. The absence of proper provisions for
regulating the profession, however, often paves the way for harassment of sex workers by the police.
The court had decided to enforce the right of sex workers after it came across a case of a brutal murder of a prostitute in Kolkata in September
While upholding a life term for the convict who had killed the prostitute by brutally banging her head against the floor and the wall several times, the court had on February 14 directed the Centre and state governments to prepare schemes
for providing vocational training to sex workers and sexually abused women. It had further sought compliance reports from the Centre and state governments.
Society must have sympathy towards the sex workers and must not look down upon them.
They are also entitled to a life of dignity in view of Article 21 of the Constitution, Justice Katju had observed.
The bench said the plight of women had also been depicted in a poem by Urdu poet Sahil Ludhianvi. The poem had taken the form of
a song - Jineh naaz hai Hind par, woh kahan hain' - in the famous Hindi film Pyaasa, Justice Katju pointed out.
Impressionist Oliver Callan told a court that he had never heard of Waterford's Maryland House when he wrote a sketch for RTE's Nob Nation which is at the centre of a libel action.
Callan said he believed Maryland was a district of
Waterford that was well-known for prostitution but he had never heard it was a guesthouse or hotel in the city. Had he known of its existence he would not have made such a reference.
He also apologised for any offence he may have caused as he
believed comedy should not set out to offend.
He was giving evidence in an action against RTE by Vincent O'Toole, owner of the Maryland House, who claims he was defamed in the Nob Nation sketch on 2FM's Gerry Ryan Show in August
The court has heard O'Toole previously successfully sued the Sunday World over a similar claim and was awarded EUR50,000 in damages.
A sketch in Nob Nation included the line: The Maryland is a byword in Waterford for
prostitution although the original establishment from whence the term is derived has ceased business.
O'Toole alleges that the words suggested he was a brothel-keeper, that his home was the haunt of undesirables, and that he was or is involved
A Waterford guesthouse owner has been awarded EUR70,000 by the High Court after being innocently defamed by a comedian in a radio sketch.
O'Toole, owner of the Maryland House, claimed he was defamed by comedian Oliver Callan in a Nob Nation sketch that was broadcast on 2FM's Gerry Ryan Show in 2008. In the sketch, Callan wrote: The Maryland is a byword in Waterford for
prostitution although the original establishment from whence the terms is derived has ceased business.
Senior counsel for O'Toole, John Gordon, asked the jury to put themselves in his 84-year-old client's shoes; asking how they would feel if,
in their declining years, their home and guesthouse was described as a brothel, reports Newstalk.
Callan told the court that when he wrote the sketch, he thought the Maryland was a district of Waterford, and had not known that it was, in
fact, a guesthouse in the city. He said he was very sorry for the distress the incident had caused O'Toole, reports the Irish Times.
A new report from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says Internet access should be a fundamental human right, like freedom of expression.
The study also argues that Internet blocking and content filtering mandates and
technologies are, in most cases, cannot be reconciled with the free flow of information and freedom of expression, both of which are basic commitments made by the 56 members of the OSCE.
Everyone should have a right to participate in the
information society and states have a responsibility to ensure citizens access to the Internet is guaranteed,' the report reads.
The study, authored by Istabul Bilgi University's Yaman Akdeniz and commissions by the OSCE Representative on
Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic' examines the level of Internet content regulation in the OSCE region and evaluations how member states' laws embody their OSCE commitments and international standards.
Legislation in many countries does not
recognize that freedom of expression and freedom of the media equally apply to Internet as a modern means of exercising these rights, said Representative Mijatovic', in a statement. In some of our states, 'extremism , terrorist propaganda,
harmful content, and hate speech are vaguely defined and may be widely interpreted to ban speech types that Internet users may not deem illegal.'
The report also noted that many countries permit the complete suspension of Internet access and
services during a declared state of emergency, war, or in response to other security threats.
Foreign Office to discuss UK policy on freedom of expression on the internet
Argentina has banned prostitution adverts in newspapers.
President Cristina Fernandez said women needed protection from violence and sex trafficking. The ban specifically applies to any advertising text or images that, in the Government's words,
abuse, defame, discriminate, dishonour, humiliate or threaten the dignity of women.
Her decree has predictably drawn nutter praise from women's groups and the US ambassador.
But some opponents fear her Government will use it to
punish opposition media this election year by removing an independent source of revenue.
The decree also creates a monitoring office to track advertisements nationwide and warn newspapers to remove offending ads.
Fernandez specifically took
aim at the newspaper Clarin, a frequent antagonist. She cited the opposition paper's Area 59 section as particularly unethical. Area 59 has included columns of ads for escorts, gym teachers , massage therapists and underwear models offering
pleasures without limits . Until now.
The pimps and prostitutes of Yeongdeungpo start the day as if preparing for a siege, stocking their brothels with flammable liquid and gas containers. Large, red-lettered signs warn police that they're willing to die to protect their livelihoods.
We can turn on the gas and light the flames, said a 47-year-old pimp who would only give her surname Sohn. We know that we don't have much chance of winning ... but we're ready to die fighting.
Nearly seven years after tough laws
began driving thousands of South Korean prostitutes out of business, the sex workers of the Yeongdeungpo red-light district in Seoul are fighting back, spurred by what they say is an unprecedented campaign of police harassment. Since April they've staged
large, sometimes violent, protests that provide a glimpse of the tensions in this fast-changing country as ambitious urban redevelopment projects encroach on old neighborhoods once known for their nightlife.
Rallies by sex workers against police
crackdowns crop up occasionally in South Korea, but the protests in Yeongdeungpo, which have drawn hundreds of other prostitutes, pimps and supporters, have been unusual in their size, organization and fury.
The district's 40 to 50 prostitutes
describe their fight in life-and-death terms. At a recent protest, about 20 topless women covered in body and face paint doused themselves in flammable liquid and had to be restrained from setting themselves on fire.
Prostitution was banned in
South Korea in 1961, but police rarely enforced the law. Tougher legislation was created, however, after a 2002 fire killed 14 women confined at a drinking salon and forced to entertain and sometimes have sex with customers.
About 259,000 people,
70% of them male customers, have been arrested since the new laws took effect in 2004. Nearly 4,000 prostitutes have left their brothels, while 1,800 remain, and seven of the country's 35 major red-light districts have disappeared, according to police
Canada's Winnipeg MP, Joy Smith, will introduce legislation to criminalize the act of buying sex.
The new bill will be modelled after the Nordic model of prostitution, which views women who sell sex as 'victims' and those who buy sex as 'criminals
Smith said she has the backing of the PMO for her new bill.
Currently the law in Canada targets those who sell sex, rather than those who buy it.
That, however, is potentially going to change depending on the outcome
of a court case in Ontario where a judge struck down three anti-prostitution laws, including keeping a common bawdy house, communicating for the purposes of prostitution and living on the avails of prostitution. The decision has been put on hold pending
a government appeal against the case.
Although private member's bills are often considered the lowest of priority and get less time for debate than bills introduced by cabinet, Smith has succeeded in the past to get her bills passed.
Sex workers from Asian backgrounds are fuelling the growth of specialist brothels that offer more exotic services for significantly less money than their Caucasian counterparts, Australian industry sources say.
A review of prostitution laws
by the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission found 20% of that state's legal brothels were staffed exclusively by Asian-born women. And police intelligence suggests an even higher proportion of illegal prostitutes are Asian. The situation is the
same in other states, a finding of the review that is backed by research from the University of NSW.
The number of Asian sex workers has definitely increased in the last 10 years, Christine Harcourt, author of The Law and Sexworker Health
Project, said. More than 50% of women working in Sydney brothels are Asian. There is no suggestion of any sex trafficking. [Asian woman] are very much in demand, Dr Harcourt said: They're very attractive women, they're very good at their work.
Australian-born sex workers are usually pretty choosy.
But the national sex workers association, the Scarlet Alliance, said there was no evidence an increasing proportion of prostitutes were Asian. Elena Jeffreys, from the alliance, said the
emergence of Asian-only brothels was a reorganisation of the industry .
The owner of two all-Asian brothels in Sydney believes price is the main reason men visit her establishments. It's competitive, said the proprietor, who asked
not to be named: There are quite a lot of Asians working ... customers want to see Asian lady in the shop, they like the Asian lady, their appearance.
Former NSW sex industry consultant Chris Seage, who now runs Brothel Busters, which
investigates illegal brothels for local councils, said nearly all illegal brothels in Sydney were owned or operated by Asians. He believes legitimate sex workers are an even mix of Caucasian and Asian-born women. Seage said an hour with a Caucasian woman
at a Chatswood brothel would cost $300; it would cost $150 with an Asian woman at a brothel in Willoughby.