The age-old debate on whether manual stimulation equates to prostitution, illegal but thriving in China, has recently been the subject of contention in the Guangdong city of Foshan.
In July 2011, a massage parlour owner and two
associates were arrested in a police raid for organising prostitution . Employees at the parlour had reportedly offered happy endings and other erotic massage services to clients. The men were each handed a five-year sentence by the
Foshan Court of First Instance.
But an appeal filed by the men to the Foshan Intermediate People's Court one year later managed to help them turn the case around. After further investigation, the defendants were found not criminally responsible
and were subsequently acquitted due to unclear facts and improper application of the law . The court said manual stimulation did not belong in the realm of prostitution.
The ruling sparked controversy amongst the city authorities who
pointed to a decree in 2001 by the Ministry of Public Security, which specified that providing or receiving of sexual activity for hire, be it oral sex, masturbation or sodomy, would be considered prostitution and was thus, illegal.
The Prague Assembly has approved a bill to control prostitution giving it the status of regular business that is to be submitted to the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of parliament.
Under the bill, sex worker would have to apply for a
licence and brothels would need an official consent to their activities as well. Municipalities would issue the respective permits and thus influence the number and location of brothels on their area.
According to the legislation, sex workers
would have to be over 18, without criminal record and in good health. They would have to undergo regular medical check-ups. They would also ask the respective municipal authority for permit. Subsequently, sex workers would pay taxes.
without a permit would face a fine from 15,000 (£500) to two million crowns (£66,000).
It is hoped that the Chamber of Deputies would debate the bill in the autumn. However there is an alternative approach with Deputy Viktor Paggio
preparing another bill to legalise prostitution.
Luis CdeBaca, a US ambassador at Large, introduced the 2013 US annual report on Trafficking in People:
Sadly, the things that we see with the TIP Report, up to 27 million, by some estimates, people being enslaved
here in the modern day.
We have some successes that we are going to be highlighting in the report this year. One of those successes is that the number of global convictions of human traffickers is up about 20 percent. We were able
to identify 4,746 convictions in the last year. That's continuing an upward trend from 2012. And as well, a continuation of an upward trend in the number of victims that are identified to about 46,500.
Now, unfortunately 46,000
identified victims in a world in which up to 27 million people are enslaved shows the depth of the challenge that's ahead of us.
Still no sign of the US analysing their estimates. The issues is taken very seriously indeed in many
countries, and despite enormous efforts, they simply cannot locate more than a tiny fraction of the US 'estimate'.
This Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada is set to hear Bedford vs. Canada , a case on the constitutionality of criminal laws governing sex work. The case, brought forward by three sex workers, Terry-Jean Bedford, Amy Lebovitch, and Valerie Scott, is a
direct result of the refusal of consecutive federal governments to respond to enormous volumes of evidence that these laws do more harm than they prevent.
The science is unequivocal: criminalization of sex work in Canada, and
globally, has been an abject failure in protecting sex workers from violence, predation and murder, and has exacerbated vulnerability to HIV and other health inequities among sex workers. While the buying and selling of sex between consensual adults has
never been illegal in Canada, criminal laws prohibit working together indoors, owning or renting an indoor place for sex work, living off the avails of prostitution, or communicating in public spaces for the purposes of sex work by sex workers, clients
or third parties. Together, these laws make it virtually impossible for a sex worker to work legally, even though the act itself is not forbidden. Evidence has consistently shown that these criminal laws engender stigma, force sex workers to work in
isolated and hidden spaces, and prevent access to basic health and support services, including legal and social protections.
A new documentary has revealed how making prostitution legal in Germany has created a booming industry.
Show on public broadcaster ARD, Sex -- Made in Germany shook up the country's normally mundane Monday television offerings,
examining the subject of prostitution just over ten years after it became legal in Germany.
The film, which frequently used hidden cameras at red light establishments, did not quite show a total success story. Two years of interviews, brothel
visits and undercover reporting showed an industry flourishing -- but one in which women have become a resource, which are being used as efficiently as possible, (just like any business).
Over a million men pay for sex each day in Germany.
Many of these now visit flat-rate brothels where men can paid a mere EUR49 for a night of as much sex as they can muster. These have become an increasingly popular business model in Berlin where sex is cheaper than anywhere else, a brothel
owner told the journalists.
So popular are the country's cut-price offerings, that specialist holiday operators now offer tailored sex-holidays for groups of men from Asian, the Middle East and North America. They are taken around brothels
for six straight days of drunken fun. Guests also travel from closer afield, with one Danish man explaining that the quality is good and everything is alright.
The reporters also visited Europe's biggest brothel in Stuttgart, where 55,000
men came in and out of its doors each year. Many of the women there are not German though, as 65% working in the country are foreign, often from eastern European countries Like Romania and Bulgaria. Some were homegrown though, with one prostitute
admitting that lots of girls who are taking their high school diploma come and work for a day or two over the weekend to earn a bit of money, because they no longer see it as something bad.
The film touched on several cases where eastern
European women had come to Germany for a better life, which wasn't to be. One Romanian woman, found herself having sex with up to 40 men a day until, eventually, authorities shut the business down for violating health codes.
What the government
does seem to be profiting from since legalizing prostitution though, is the tax it generates. Even street walkers have to pay special sex work tax es.
Thankfully Sweden's nasty, and soon 15-year-old, law that bans buying sex has not resulted in any convicted sex buyers spending time behind bars.
In 2011, 'Justice' Minister Beatrice Ask previously raised the red flag about supposedly lenient
sentencing doled out in Swedish courts. In July 2012, the law was rewritten, allowing courts to send offenders to jail for a maximum of one year, rather than the six months previously allowed.
Yet the rewrite has had little effect, noted Johan
Linander, Centre Party MP and vice-chairman of Riksdag Committee on 'Justice' (Justitieutskottet). He whinged to the Local:
The courts make limited use of the range of sentencing available to them
review of sentencing in the past few years by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper revealed that no one has been sentenced to prison for buying sex from an adult - neither before nor after the reform.
We see that the courts use the lower quarter of
punishments with little variation, which is true for most crimes, not just sex purchases, said Linander, who has long argued that the punishments needed to be stricter.
Social Democrat MEP Anna Hedh, said she was hesitant toward filling
Swedish prisons up with one-time offenders:
BUT ... if you are a repeat offender, you should of course end up in jail.
China's punitive laws and policing practices against sex workers are leading to serious abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a report published today. These abuses include police violence, arbitrary detention of up to two years in re-education
through labor and custody and education centers, and coercive HIV testing. There are an estimated four to six million sex workers in China, the overwhelming majority of them women.
The report, Swept Away: Abuses Against Sex Workers
in China , documents abuses by the police against female sex workers in Beijing, including torture, beatings, physical assaults, arbitrary detentions, and fines, as well as a failure to investigate crimes against sex workers by clients,
bosses, and state agents. The report also documents abuses by public health agencies, such as coercive HIV testing, privacy infringements, and mistreatment by health officials.
Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch said:
In China, the police often act as if by engaging in sex work, women had forfeited their rights. The government must abandon its repressive laws against sex workers, discipline abusive police, and end the suppression of sex
workers rights advocates.
The Chinese government has allowed the unchecked growth of the sex industry in recent decades, with millions of women turning to sex work as a way of earning a living. Yet the government maintains officially
a blanket ban on sex work, viewing it as an ugly social phenomenon that goes against socialist spiritual civilization, and treating it as a misdemeanor punishable by fines or short-term detention.
During periodic anti-prostitution
drives, often lasting several weeks and linked to larger strike hard campaigns against crime, police repeatedly raid entertainment venues, hair salons, massage parlors, and other spaces where sex work occurs, detaining large numbers of women
suspected of being sex workers. Sex workers are most at risk of abuses such as police brutality and arbitrary detention during these drives. Domestic activists working on rights for Chinese sex workers have also denounced these police raids.
Chinese police can also send suspected sex workers, without due process or a trial, for up to two years' detention in a
re-education through labor camp or so-called custody and education centers. While the government announced in January 2013 that it would reform re-education through labor, there has been no similar announcement for the
estimated 183 custody and education centers, holding more than 15,000 inmates, most of whom are women. Both institutions constitute forms of arbitrary detention under international law, Human Rights Watch said, since they allow people to be
deprived of their liberty without due process of law.
Human Rights Watch calls on the Chinese government to enact legislation to remove criminal and administrative sanctions against voluntary, consensual sex work and related offenses such as
solicitation. Human Rights Watch also called for an end to the periodic anti-prostitution mobilization campaigns that have generated severe abuses against women engaging in sex work.
Abuses by law-enforcement agencies deter sex workers
from seeking help from the police when they are victims of crime, or from public health services when they are in need of assistance, said Richardson. This makes them more vulnerable to abuses and exploitation. If China is serious about protecting
and promoting women's rights, it cannot ignore the millions of women who engage in sex work.
The Invisible Men Project aims to selectively reveal what some men who visit sex workers say about the women involved.
PunterNet is a website forum where men can comment on and
review sex workers. It includes warnings about reporting any potentially underage or trafficked women, and it offers sex workers a right of reply to bad reviews.
Now, The Invisible Men Project is gathering a selection of posts from Punternet to
ask a simple question: never mind the debates about the ethics of sex workers themselves, what do you think of the men who pay them? As the site puts it: Without seeking to prove, disprove or debate choice on the part of the women described, we invite
you to consider: what do you think of his choice?
However the comments being published are clearly cherry picked to support the anti-sex work cause.
A pub in Singapore's famous sexy nightlife centre, Orchard Towers has got in trouble with the police.
Managers Ng Kian Boon and Ridzawi Ali were fined $22,000 each. They had pleaded guilty to four charges of abetting the pub owner to receive the
earnings from prostitution and to one charge of assisting him to manage a brothel. The owner and three other employees will face the court later.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Lai said two police officers in plain clothes went to the now-defunct
Famous Hot Models pub on the third floor of Orchard Towers at 1am on May 25 last year after a tip-off.
Pretending to be customers, they were joined by three Filipino hostesses, who told them that oral sex was available in the pub's three karaoke
rooms at a cost of $182. If a customer wanted to have sex, he would have to pay the pub $268 for two hours of the woman's company. Other police officers then moved in and arrested 26 Filipino women, aged 19 to 31.
The hostess' job scope included
encouraging customers to buy her lady drinks. Prices ranged from $30 to $120 for each drink - for every $10, she would earn $3. The women were also urged to provide sexual services to earn more money - keeping half of what they were paid.
Legislation to criminalise the purchase of sex will be introduced to the Dail tomorrow. The Criminal Law Sexual Offences Bill, to be introduced by Independent TD Thomas Pringle, sets out to impose harsh criminal sanctions on those who pay for sex.
Persecution of men via the so called Swedish model is being advocated in Ireland by the Turn off the Red Light Campaign. The campaign, is endorsed by 68 organisations including various gender extremist groups eg Ruhama, the Irish Congress of Trade
Unions, the Labour Party and Barnardos.
[The Bill] will reduce the demand for sexual services, thereby reducing the incidence of prostitution in society. It will create a situation that will
remove the attractiveness of prostitution and trafficking from organised criminal elements by creating the risk for purchasers of sexual services to be prosecuted with the element of 'name and shame' acting as a deterrent.
The Bill provides for an ascending scale of penalties, from a fixed-notice fine of EUR500 for first-time offenders, to a EUR4,000 fine and/or four-week jail sentence for repeat offenders.
Germany's center-right governing coalition has agreed to enact restrictions on sex work in the country.
Members of the coalition -- made up of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister party, the Christian
Social Union (CSU), and the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) -- say that an agreement over an appropriate set of regulations has nearly been reached.
Prostitution is legal in Germany, but the coalition plans to toughen criminal penalties
against human trafficking and more strictly restrict the commercial activities of brothels.
In future, brothel operators will need special authorization to open such an establishment. Moreover, authorities will be required to enforce hygienic
standards and operators will be screened for prior criminal offences.
There is still resistance, however, from Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP), who wants to prevent harsher criminal laws in the sex industry.
Costa Rica is fast becoming a top sex-tourism destination where prostitution is not only legal, it's embraced.
The Costa Rican government, of course, would prefer that its wedge of the Central American isthmus not be so well regarded among
American men trolling for sex. The tourist board is much more enthusiastic about their beaches, rain forests, and volcanoes, and the country's official slogan---no artificial ingredients---would seem to have nothing at all to do with picking up
prostitutes in bars. True, every horny American who comes down here is renting a hotel room, eating in restaurants, probably drinking, maybe gambling, and definitely paying the $26 departure tax on his way out; at least some of the money he's spending on
sex goes back into the local economy. But what self-respecting country wants to shill for those dollars? You might be sure that this type of tourist are not wanted here, says one Costa Rican official. We only want the people that want to spend
a 'Pura Vida' time.
Yet the whoremongers came in droves anyway. And by the early 1990s, they'd branded Costa Rica with a reputation as a sex haven---a reputation that stuck and then exploded near the end of the century. Why that happened isn't
complicated. For one thing, prostitution is legal, or at least isn't illegal: The business isn't taxed or regulated like, say, casinos or bars, but there is no law against an adult selling his or her body for cash. So you're not going to come down to San
Jose' and get busted by an undercover cop. Prostitution is also indigenously rampant and culturally, if quietly, acceptable---70 percent of those who pay for sex are locals---so you don't feel all that awkward with your arm around a whore.
The media in Kyrgyzstan has published an announcement by Dastan Bekeshev, the Parliament Deputy that the Kyrgyz Government have withdrawn their Draft Bill proposing administrative punishments for sex work.
Tais Plus campaigned heavily against this
initiative. This is the second time Tais Plus' advocacy efforts have been successful after similar attempts in 2006 to criminalise sex work were also stopped.