The Malta Independent 22 October 2020, Thursday

Approach to prostitution reform entails penalisation of sex-buying – Equality Commission

Wednesday, 2 September 2020, 16:26 Last update: about 3 months ago

Decriminalising prostitution should include the penalisation of sex-buying, the equality commission stated on Wednesday.

In a statement, the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) stated that for the Prostitution Reform Technical Committee to adopt a human rights approach, sex-buying must be penalised.

Reforms Parliamentary Secretary Rosianne Cutajar told The Malta Independent that a prostitution reform technical committee is in the initial stages of drafting a legal framework that will decriminalise sex work.


A coalition of over 40 NGOs involved in this sector have voiced their disappointment that no one on the committee has appeared to have formed part of the committee or have been asked for their expertise.

This newsroom has been informed that the coalition will have a meeting with Equality Minister Edward Zammit Lewis.

“Prostitution is a form of exploitation rife with physical and psychological violence. It is also, primarily, an exercise in power and control of men over women, since the absolute majority of prostitutes are women, while the absolute majority of pimps and clients are men.” The NCPE highlight that whilst prostitutes should not be punished for suffering exploitation, sex-buyers should be penalised, as it disrupts the exploitative sex market and sends a message in favour of gender equality.

NCPE highlight that countries that normalise prostitution and legitimised sex-buying have seen the widening of the sex market through an increase in both the demand as well as the need for supply, therefore becoming a magnet for human trafficking for sex exploitation and a hub of sex tourism. “Conversely, countries such as Sweden that criminalised the purchase of sexual services reported a shrinking sex industry and a reduction in human trafficking.”

NCPE reiterates that the prostitution reform should be centred around the principles of human rights and equality.


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