Wednesday, February 11, 2004
"Women's Groups Divided Over Prostitution"
So reads the headline for this article in the Taipei Times, though its applicability is more general. Taiwan is rethinking its criminalization of prostitution. The groups mentioned share an interest in decriminalizing the activities of prostitutes -- where they differ is on the legal status of customers of prostitutes:
"Since 1997, when then Taipei mayor Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) launched a crackdown on the city's brothels, women's groups have repeatedly expressed concern over the rights of sex workers and their position in society.
These groups are divided into two camps that each hold a different opinion on the sex industry. One side, led by The Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters (日日春關懷互助協會), is calling for the complete legalization of the sex industry, with no punishment for either prostitutes or their clients.
The other side, led by The Garden of Hope Foundation and the End Child Prostitution Association in Taiwan (終止童妓協會), propose that the clients, rather than the sex workers, be penalized."
How do men feel about this issue? Well, it seems to depend on whether they themselves are consumers of the services of prostitutes. According to an academic who has studied Taiwanese prostitution (as quoted in the Taipei Times article), 'Men who like to pay for sex tend to think it is better to legalize the sex industry.'