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Lithuania: popular TV show discusses sex work situation in the country

May 4, 2009, Vilnius --- the analytical TV show „Balsas.lt“ which is broadcasted through TV3, one of the most popular commercial television channels in Lithuania, featured the sex work situation in Lithuania. Sex workers, police officers and MPs were interviewed.

„According to unofficial data there is a dozen of illegal firms dealing with prostitution in Vilnius alone. Their annual turnover reaches millions of Litas. According to the statistics, the economic recession is a very good time for sex industry. Sex workers perceive this and wish to be protected by law. Why do politicians ignore the existence of sex work business that has been flourishing in Lithuania for centuries? How often do politicians and prominent persons who publicly declare being Christian, finance sex industry by using the services of sex workers? Are famous names in sex worker clients lists just a myth?”, - says the annotation of the TV show.

While preparing this program the journalists conducted interviews with sex workers, police officers and several members of parliament. Sex workers were asked about the contingent of their clients and the response was that there are people famous in Lithuanian Society. The biggest emphasis was on the question "Is it voluntary or forced work" and almost all girls said that they have chosen such work freely, that nobody forced them. They chose this way in order to take care of their families, children, etc.

Despite the fact that the topic of sex work topic was presented quite professionally, the main problems were outlined and proper terms were used, and the conclusions of the show were (indirectly) leaning towards the sex work liberalization approach, some activist working in the field of sex work weren’t satisfied with the show.

“There was an ordinary attempt to make a sensation by disclosing politicians who use services of sex workers. The authors of the show promised to cover the faces of the girls interviewed but this wasn’t done well. Every elections campaign is followed by reports about prostitution. I’d rather it focused more on the human rights dimension”, - said a member of the I Can Live Coalition Svetlana Kulsis, who works in medical counseling and drop-in centre for sex workers.

More about Coalition I Can Live
Contact person: Erika Matuizaite, email: erika@pic.lt