According to Forbes:
Taiwan will formally decriminalize prostitution in November, but it will be legal only in certain areas. Officials are now studying where those areas should be; one proposal would allow studio-style brothels in parts of Taipei. The explanation for this move to live and let live: The world’s oldest profession happens to be one of Taiwan’s best organized.
So, I guess this sounds more like legalization than decriminalization, but I get the terms confused, so maybe someone will comment on that.
As the government started cracking down on prostitution, those in the business formed the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters in 1998 in self defense.
The collective, billed as a women’s rights group, not only wants prostitution legalized. It also demands safe zones for soliciting customers and safe rooms for sex, both without police surveillance.
Hmmm… It’s not quite clear whether they are demanding the freedom to establish safe facilities or they are demanding that the government provide those safe facilities for them.
Then, of course, there is the opposition:
The collective’s arch-opponent, the Garden of Hope Foundation, advocates fining customers of prostitution as a way to kill off the trade. “The women are forced to rely on prostitution to make money, and it has always been that way. Their respect and health are being hurt,” says Chi Hui-jung, the foundation’s chief executive. She pledged to fight the collective over studio brothels. “The government is just floating a trial balloon,” she speculates.
There is no globally valid debate on prostitution,” says Stephen Lakkis, head of the human rights and public policy directorate at Taiwan Theological College’s Center for Public Theology. But he fears that permits for small, scattered brothels may mean “hiding away the abuses that may be occurring in those studios.”
The only abuses are police stings, insists Taipei prostitute Nadia Hsieh, a steady supporter of the sex worker collective. She joined the trade three years ago after a divorce left her with a bank debt and two children. “Sex work is safe.
Well, at least the debate is open and changes are being seriously considered.
Sex workers may not get their pimpless, cop-free safe zones anytime soon. Even after this year’s move to decriminalize, police could nab prostitutes until rules on solicitation and zoning become clearer. The collective vows to keep up its splashy protests until things change.
Not something that we can expect to see in the “land of the free” anytime soon.