The Malta Independent 20 October 2019, Sunday

Public consultation to regularize and decriminalize prostitution officially launched

Jeremy Micallef Tuesday, 3 September 2019, 12:31 Last update: about 3 months ago

The public consultation on the Government’s proposals to regularize and decriminalize prostitution amongst other measures were officially launched on Tuesday.

Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms Julia Farrugia Portelli said that the change in mentality the government is thinking of is a progressive and revolutionary one where the system stops criminalizing vulnerable people who for one reason or another might have found themselves with no option other than prostitution.

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The pledge to launch a debate on the topic of prostitution was present in this administration’s Electoral Manifesto, with the main aim being the protection of vulnerable persons from being exploited as sex workers and at the same time further enhance the fight against trafficking of persons.

The Parliamentary Secretary repeatedly insisted that this in no way meant that brothels will now be legalized, but that prostitutes will be helped rather than prosecuted or put in jail, going on to say that those who participated in this practice where people in need of empowerment who needed other options.

In fact, a state-run programmed led by professionals is being proposed by the government with the goal of helping those who wanted to leave the industry – which went hand in hand with another proposal which would remove the criminal record of those linked with prostitution.

Licensing of Massage Parlours and Gentleman’s Clubs

Farrugia Portelli was careful with her words when moving onto the issue of establishments notoriously known for their connections to prostitutions, particularly because their licensing was being done to protect the interests of qualified massage therapists and ending exploitative practices.

She, again, insisted that Government would not be considering legislation that will allow these places to be used as brothers, also adding that both the patrons and owners of such establishments had to know exactly what is and isn’t acceptable.

Tempting agencies were also brought up as, unlike recruitment agencies, these agencies were not governed by any existing legislation either.

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