Zurich council has approved a plan to build open drive-in sex boxes, which will, it hopes, provide a discreet location for prostitutes and their customers to conduct business when they open in August next year.
Located in an industrial area of the city, the row of garage-like boxes will have roofs and walls for privacy, and easy access for cars. The council estimates that around 30 prostitutes will meet clients at the site of the boxes, and use the drive-in
slots on a first-come-first-served basis.
Michael Herzig, from Zurich's social welfare department, told Swiss Radio:
The big difference is that until now prostitution has been in the public space. Now we are going to change this, move it from the street to a private space in an old industrial area, which belongs to the city. This gives us the possibility to define the
rules of prostitution in this area.
The prostitutes who use the boxes will also have to take out medical insurance and buy a £ 26 licence in order to work legally. They will also have to feed five Swiss francs, about £
3.30, into a roadside ticket machine each night when they clock on.
The opening of the sex boxes will coincide with a major reform of prostitution laws in the city. Prostitution will be outlawed in certain areas of Zurich.
A conference to discuss the development of a law to legalize prostitution was held in Moscow under the motto legalize prostitution - collect taxes . The idea was supported by a State Duma deputy from the party United Russia Joseph Kobzon.
The initiative was originated by a group who have produced a draft federal law On state regulation and control of sexual services. This has suggested calling sex workers individual entrepreneurs engaged in providing sexual services, and
their customers - consumers of sexual services. The bill addresses the relationship between entrepreneurs and consumers as well as tax and other government agencies.
Duma deputy Joseph Kobzon supported the idea of the bill with reservations. He noted that the bill was just an excuse to start a great debate, perhaps even a referendum. As soon as the State Duma starts drafting a law on prostitution, it will
immediately raise the question of the need of its approval in the second reading by the government and presidential administration. Once the government feels that this law has a financial component, [...] that there will be a need to allocate money from
the budget to combat prostitution, it will be voted down, said Kobzon. According to him, the money will be needed first of all for the maintenance of the new police unit - morality police.
Prostitution flourishes in Russia and the existing laws are considered obsolete. In the current Russian legislation Article 6.11 in the Code of Administrative Offences provides for a fine for prostitution between 1,500 and 2,000 rubles. There are two
articles of the Criminal Code against pimps and keepers of brothels. They are Involvement in prostitution (up to a maximum of eight years in prison) and Organization of prostitution (ten years).
About 200 women's rights groups are calling for laws to make paying for sex a crime across the European Union.
Campaigners will present key policy recommendations for legislation to MEPs in Brussels on Wednesday. A campaign spokeswoman claimed:
Prostitution is a form of violence, an obstacle to gender equality and an open door for organised crime to develop.
The European Women's Lobby (EWL), which leads the campaign, wants EU member states to implement six key policies, including the criminalisation of all forms of procuring, and the creation of effective exit programmes for sex workers.
EWL spokeswoman Pierrette Pape ludicrously claimed to the BBC that even in totally consensual transactions: imposing sexual intercourse with money is a form of violence that shouldn't be accepted,
So far 36 European MEPs are already supporting the proposal, Pape said.
Initial response by the English Collective of Prostitutes
At a time of economic crisis when poverty among women and children is rising throughout Europe (see EWL own research ) and more women, particularly mothers, are working in the sex industry to survive, the EWL chooses to mount an
initiative against prostitution. To criminalise prostitute women's clients when all the evidence shows that this will push prostitution more underground and make it harder for sex workers to get protection from rape and other violence, shows a total
disregard for the lives of women in the sex industry. Criminalising clients will not stop prostitution, nor will it stop the criminalisation of women. But it will make more dangerous and stigmatising for those of us who work as prostitutes.
Faced with no benefit or job, or only the lowest-waged jobs, many women will sell sexual services. Are we less degraded when we have to skip meals or beg in order to feed our children; stay with a violent partner to keep a roof over
our heads; or work 40 hours a week for under ?5 an hour unable to pay our bills? Is it surprising that many women would rather make three times as much working part-time in a brothel? Those who rage against prostitution have not a word for mothers
struggling to feed their families. Since student fees were raised, many more women students are paying for their education by working in the sex industry. If governments are offended by the work we do, they should stop welfare reform, abolish student
fees, reinstate resources for women fleeing domestic violence and bring in pay equity. With the urgent economic need women across Europe are facing, have women politicians nothing better to do than to attack sex workers?
The EWL proposal for the prohibition of the purchase of a sexual act (accompanied by the suppression of repressive measures against prostituted persons ) follows the example of legislation introduced in Sweden which
decriminalised sex workers and criminalised clients. Yet evidence shows that discrimination and stigma against sex workers has increased, that sex workers have been put more at risk of attack and are less able to call on the protection of the police and
the authorities: We have also found reports of serious adverse effects of the Sex Purchase Act -- especially concerning the health and well-being of sex workers -- in spite of the fact that the lawmakers stressed that the law was not to have a
detrimental effect on people in prostitution. Where is the outrage at the fact that a quarter of single mothers in Sweden now live in poverty, compared to 10% seven years ago.
Existing legislation in all EU countries already prosecutes anyone who forces or coerces anyone into the sex industry. Why extend it to consenting sex? The EWL proposal for the criminalisation of all forms of procuring will
result in anyone associated with sex workers being at risk of prosecution. Here in the UK there are laws against brothel-keeping, controlling and causing and inciting someone into prostitution, all of which are most often used against people who
associate with sex workers rather than people who exploit sex workers. For example, women who place an advert on the web for another sex worker or who pass on a client.
One year after a clampdown on street prostitution in Vienna there are still relatively few areas where street prostitution is legal and no further zones have been legalised.
City Councillor Sandra Frauenberger said:
The more we succeed in pulling prostitution out of this social grey area, the better that the women involved will be protected from exploitation, violence and abuse The passing of a new law alone does not suffice -- it must be accompanied by various
At the centre of the law was the ban on street prostitution in residential areas. However there still are not enough safe areas for street prostitution to dissuade women from working in illegal brothels. Legal areas for street prostitution can be found
near the Prater and Auhof regions of Vienna.
Since one year ago, no further zones have been legalised. Requests to have permitted zones in built up areas have been rejected. Hebein has criticised that the reaction from many districts is Not on my doorstep!
Less than 30 Viennese brothels currently have a permit for meeting the requirements set out in the new rules for local prostitution. 250 further brothels have applied for this permit, though it is estimated that there are over 450 such establishments and
that this number is set to rise.
There are currently 2,800 registered sex workers in Vienna -- 400 more than one year ago.
Laws to decriminalise prostitution in South Australia have been defeated by one vote in State Parliament.
But the absence of eight MPs from the chamber at the time has prompted calls for the vote to be taken again and changes to the parliamentary system to give MPs more notice of conscience votes.
Labor MP Steph Key's Private Member's Bill would have decriminalised all forms of prostitution, including at home, in brothels, escort services and some street work, but retained soliciting as an offence where it occurred in the presence of other people.
But in a vote in Parliament's Lower House yesterday the proposed laws were defeated 20 votes to 19. 8 MPs were missing from the chamber, including two who were locked out after they failed to get there in time.
Ms Key said she would seek advice on whether she could recommit the legislation to another vote at a later date when all or more MPs were present. She said:
There were a couple of people that were caught outside for some reason and they were going to be supporting the Bill. And there were a number of people that were paired (out of the chamber) today that support the Bill. So people are saying this isn't a
real indication (of the level of support for the laws).
nding trafficking is perhaps the most well-known, well-resourced, well-loved social cause of the 21st century that doesn't require its proponents' agreement on what it even is they wish to end. What is trafficking ? How many people are trafficked
? Look beyond the surface of the fight against trafficking, and you will find misleading statistics and decades of debate over laws and protocols. As for the issue itself, the lack of agreement on how to define trafficking hasn't slowed
campaigners' fight. Rather, defining trafficking has become their fight.
Accurate statistics on trafficking are difficult to come by, which does not stop some anti-trafficking groups from using them anyway. For instance, Shared Hope International, which is aggressively pursuing anti-trafficking legislation in 41 US states,
claims at least 100,000 juveniles are victimized each year in the United States, and possibly as many as 300,000 -- a figure that has been cited (repeatedly) by CNN. In truth, the figure is an estimate from a
University of Pennsylvania report from 2001 [pdf] of how many youth are at-risk of what its authors call commercial sexual exploitation of a child , based on incidences of youth homelessness. But it was not a count of how many youth are victims of trafficking
, or involved in the sex trade.
Prostitution is often conflated with trafficking in these statistics, in part because the definition of trafficking that has been pushed to prominence refers exclusively to sexual exploitation . In fact, this conflation has found its way
into the collection of data: according to a report from the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women:
[W]hen statistics on trafficking are available, they usually refer to the number of migrant or domestic sex workers, rather than cases of trafficking.
This purposeful conflation of sex work and trafficking distinguishes the many feminist and faith-based anti-trafficking groups that focus on sex-trafficking from groups that work directly with people who are involved in forced labor of all kinds, whether
or not it involves sex work.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kyrgyzstan announced recently that it intends to criminalise sex workers.
The ministry prepared the draft of the law with he justification being that prostitution is anti-social, directly linked to the spread of STIs, including HIV as well as spreading drug addiction and alcoholism . The prospective punishment could be
a fine or as much as 30 days in prison.
Tais Plus, along with partner organisations and rights defenders are campaigning against this initiative.
The United Nations has recommended the decriminalization of sex work to help curb the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV.
The UN said in its report titled Sex Work and the Law in Asia and the Pacific .
Removing legal penalties for sex work assists HIV prevention and treatment programmes to reach sex workers and their clients,
The UN report argues that by legalizing prostitution, the government can make sex work safer, extend health services to sex workers and thus slow the spread of the virus.
The UN said the criminalization of sex-related jobs increases workers' susceptibility to HIV by:
fuelling stigma and discrimination, limiting access to sexual health services, condoms and harm reduction services; and adversely affecting the self esteem of sex workers and their ability to make informed choices about their health.
The recommendation also moves to stop the exploitation of sex workers and to give them basic rights by suggesting that their jobs, too, should have typical workplace standards in line with the law and government:
Decriminalization enables sex workers to organize within their communities and register their organizations, obtain identification documents so that they can fully access services and entitlements, engage in advocacy and respond to the health and safety
needs of their peers.
The UN noted that, with the exception of New Zealand and the state of New South Wales in Australia, all countries in Asia and the Pacific criminalize sex work or associated activities.
Netherland's 'Justice' minister Ivo Opstelten is to revise some aspects of new restrictions on prostitution following concerns from the upper house of parliament.
Senators are concerned about how effective the law will be in practice, Nos television says.
The aim of the legislation is to repress prostitution by imposing a licencing system and setting up an official register of prostitutes.
The legislation will also ludicrously require customers to make sure they are visiting a legal prostitute. If the customer fails to check and the prostitute is unregistered he will have committed a criminal offence and could be fined.
This is the second time the senate has delayed the legislation, Nos says. Earlier senators wanted more information about the data protection aspects of the new law and the implications of human rights legislation.
Across almost all of Asia, laws, policies and practices put in place to restrict prostitution do more harm than good. A UN report highlights the dangers of driving sex workers underground and increasing their vulnerability to STDs.
Croatia's government has proposed fines of $1 700 - about twice the average monthly salary - for prostitutes and their customers, targeting the buyers of sex for the first time.
Current legislation in the Balkan state already outlaws prostitution, but only sex workers have been prosecuted, not their clients.
Attempts by some liberal groups to legalise prostitution have never been seriously considered in the strongly Roman Catholic country, which is due to join the European Union next July.
The bill proposed by the centre-left government would set fines of up to 10,000 Croatian kunas ($1,700) for both buyers and sellers of sex. The current fine for prostitutes is only 800 kunas. The law would also impose fines of up to 5,000 kunas for
people who have sex or expose themselves in public places.
Vietnam will free about 900 sex workers next year from prisons, euphemistically named rehabilitation centres.
The sex workers will be able to return home when a newly amended administrative law comes into effect at the start of July 2013, according to the Thanh Nien newspaper.
This is a big change of view on how to deal with prostitution, Le Duc Hien, deputy head of the government's department for social vices prevention, was quoted as saying.
Since July this year, sex workers have no longer been jailed when picked up by the authorities, but are now fined up to five million dong (US$240 dollars) instead, Thanh Nien said.
Vietnam has maintained special prisons for drug users and sex workers for years despite international calls for their closure. A report by US-based Human Rights Watch released a year ago said drug users were made to perform forced labour. It said the
prisons were rife with physical abuse.