I have been away for two weeks exploring Amsterdam and making study visits along with work meetings. Meanwhile, I have been following developments in Kyrgyzstan. Just now found a post on NewEurasia.net about sex work and it very much corresponded with my just-three-days ago visit to the ‘Red Light District’ in Amsterdam.Sex work in post-soviet cultures is referred to as ‘world’s most ancient profession’ which makes a point that sexual services has been sold and bought for centuries if not millennia. It is likely that they will be for centuries as well. In some cultures sexual services included in marriage are bought for a bride price, some men and women might provide sexual services for a dinner, drinks, employment, promotion etc. And yet people who are visible for taking a stand on providing sexual services for money receive criticism. Well, what about those who buy these services? Aren’t they just as guilty? Why does not anyone, if this is so very wrong, works with the men who usually see sex for money (and doing whatever they want to a woman) as fun and a good way to be sexually initiated?
Points of view on sex work.
Dutch example. In the Netherlands sex work is legal and is the same as any other type of employment, sex workers pay taxes and receive medical insurance from the state. They do not need to hide in dark corners.
Swedish example. In Sweden selling sexual services is legal and buying is NOT. You can get a fine and go to jail if you are spotted buying sexual services.
Kyrgyz example. In Kyrgyzstan sex work is not mentioned in the criminal code unless it is forced. According to a report on assessment on police practices and sex work prepared for ‘Tais Plus’ (organization working on sex workers rights), the sex workers only may retain 12% of their salary and the rest is shared by their pimps and the police. While the pimps provide security and take care of the sex workers, police does not (p.10) yet as well earns money by forcing pimps and individual sex workers to pay bribes.
Finally, if the sex work is criminalized puts the sex workers into an illegal position, they hide and it is difficult to access them with specific programs aimed at protecting their rights and ensuring safer sex practices.