PD: Criminalise those who seek prostitution, decriminalise those who are prostituted

The Partit Demokratiku believes that Malta should follow the Nordic model, which is built around the criminalisation of demand for sexual services

PD: Criminalise the clients, decriminalise those who are prostituted
PD: Criminalise the clients, decriminalise those who are prostituted

Calling on government and society not to allow a proposed debate on prostitution to drag on, the Partit Demokratiku has suggested Malta should follow the Nordic model, whereby ‘clients’ – those who seek prostitution – are criminalised and prostitutes decriminalised.

The PD, through its ongoing ‘2L Campaign’ – Live and Love Campaign – argued that prostitution was an obstacle to gender equality and a violation of one' s dignity and fundamental human rights. 

“Partit Demokratiku believes that the proposed debate by government should not drag on and a conclusion reached forthwith. This debate has been postponed for far too long, with a number of fits and starts that stretch over some years,” it said.

The PD also suggested that the legislation should be presented as a separate government's bill, alongside The Domestic Violence Bill: “Prostitution is closely related to policies that involve violence against sexes and gender inequality.”

The party came out against legalising prostitution, insisting that this would elevate the status of “an immoral activity to a status of a legal business and would exacerbate the problems rather than solve them.”

Criminalizing those who pay for sex and decriminalizing those who are sexually exploited would “stop the trade in procuring, pimping or sex trafficking”, the PD insisted.

The government’s policy must also discourage and reduce the demand that fosters such casual encounters through health and education: “A public awareness campaign would be an asset. A continued professional program should also be addressed to the police, law enforcement agents and the judiciary.”

A third proposal is to increase punishment over the sexual exploitation of minors. The PD insisted that it should be made clear in the law that 16 and 17-year-olds are to be banned from participating in such activity. The statement was made in view of the proposal to lower the age of consent from 18 to 16.

To help the prostitutes themselves, the government must also develop a plan of action with JobPlus, by which the prostitutes would find adequate and alternative employment, the PD added.

“It is an undeniable fact that the objectification (commodity) of using a woman's body, and the normalisation of selling and buying sex, jeopardises Malta's moral values and society as a whole.”

The PD argued that, based on research, those involved in prostitution are usual victims of previous sexual abuse, coercion, drug or usury problems or as a pragmatic economic response to a limited number of options.

“The life circumstances of those involved denote vulnerability and characterise a poor well-being that may be linked to economic poverty. Also rampant is physical and emotional violence against women, more so by pimps who keep prostitutes under their thumb,” the PD said.

“It is also a well-known fact that prostitution is closely linked with gender-specific human smuggling and drug trafficking, as criminal offenders and gangs use routes that share the same logistical infrastructure. This makes the sex industry scenario more complex than it seems. A multicultural society is more at risk of being part of this lucrative underground business.”

Partit Demokratiku invites all those who are interested, organizations that support human rights and those who are against gender-based violence to get in touch and send in their feedback about this issue on [email protected].

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