The Malta Independent 20 May 2024, Monday
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Alfred Sant MEP Thursday, 3 September 2020, 08:00 Last update: about 5 years ago

The ongoing discussion about a change in the laws relating to prostitution opens up some fundamental dilemmas. To what extent should the rules of the “free market” be in force? Can those with full control over their bodies be allowed to “sell” them? If yes, should the role of the state then be to ensure that the actions of those who do so are truly free and not done under duress?


Beyond this, questions that arise concern the best measures by which to ensure that women’s rights are being respected while all forms of exploitation are curtailed and stamped out.

Regarding how to proceed on this front, different approaches are proposed. Given the divergences between them, one is left perplexed. I appreciate that the proponents of different policy models want to attain the same goal: namely to contain prostitution in ways that totally eliminate the exploitation of women (and certain men). But what can be done to reach a reasonable conclusion about the alternatives that are being proposed?

The problem remains that under the screen of the free market dogma and of a “liberal” culture, the engines of exploitation and crime remain very powerful.



No end is yet in sight to the Brexit saga. Many believed that at the end of last year, the whole mess had been cleared. Not true. The details about how relations would be conducted in future between the UK and the EU still needed to be figured out in a final agreement  by this year’s end.

Such agreement still appears to be far away. The corona virus pandemic made sure to slow the pace of negotiations but more than that, both sides began discussions well away from each other and have since done little to seriously reduce the distance that separated them. I believe both sides share in the blame.

The possibility that no agreement will be reached has become great. It might be a good idea to start considering as of now what measures should be made ready to cover the scenario of a total failure in negotiations. 



I never wished to become a lawyer. Over the years then, in part due to having worked as a diplomat in an embassy, I  got to progressively understand the crucial importance of laws, how they get written, understood, and how they are implemented, respected.

Meanwhile from the “management” perspective in which I had specialised, a question that kept recurring was whether ongoing court procedures and the way by which they were administered were not in fact as crucial a factor as the overall legal and judicial framework.

At the forefront of this concern naturally there came the delays before court cases were settled. I wrote about this on a number of occasions.

Now, there is another consideration which as far as I know has not yet been raised. When the courts are considereing whether A or B should be passed over for a criminal trial, should such a question be decided in good time, or can the process be stretched out into a festival of sensational news that gets sequenced into episodes?

When the second scenario takes over, soap opera fans are delighted. But it is doubtful whether justice will be done satisfactorily in the resulting froth.

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