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Kazakh Society is ready for Legalization of Prostitution (Excerpt)

By Daniyar Yenikeev, Public Committee for Legalization of Prostitution

www.zonakz.net, 21 August, 2006 -- The current bad working conditions of female sex workers require the state interference and an initiative to introduce regulatory mechanisms in this business. Sex workers need state’s help as their living conditions are not simply hard, but often monstrous and unbearable. We have to realize the fact that prostitution exists in modern society, and hence, our attitude toward the representatives of this ancient profession should be more liberal and loyal. Whether we want it or not, prostitution will always exist…. Our civic duty is to protect those women who cannot find the occupation in other spheres of life… Kazakh society is ready for the legalization of prostitution. This will play a positive role in the creation of a constitutional state.

There are more than 10 thousand prostitutes in Kazakhstan today, not including those who are in transit through Kazakhstan to Russia, Turkey and countries of Persian Gulf from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Almaty and Astana can be considered the country’s centers of prostitution, so as to some extend are Aktau and Atyrau, due to an intensive development of oil and gas resources and the influx of foreign workers. It is well known that prostitution as a mass phenomenon starts in Kazakhstan in locations of foreign workers and military bases of foreign countries.

The problem of prostitution is chiefly connected with the corruption in power structures. The notions of prostitution and corruption are tied together. Where the scale of corruption is extremely high, so is the growth of prostitution, both among female and male parts of population. Take Kosovo. During the last two years, international legislators publicized scandalous materials that discredited the employees of the UN humanitarian services.

But the current problem in Kazakhstan exists due to the absence of rights for people involved in prostitution. In my opinion, this type of occupation ought to be legalized and a legislation frame should be developed for this profession. This will reduce the risk of their profession, as it happened in Holland. Such experience could be useful for our country, because of the new laws would protect prostitutes and their rights.

There is a number of arguments that show that had the prostitutes in Kazakhstan worked within legal norms, it would have led to positive changes in their status and work conditions.

1) In case of sex work being legal, a woman (man) would not face economic exploitation on behalf of social parasites, e.g. pimps or those, who control her (his) income, movement and living. It is well known that at best (rather rarely) a woman gets 50% of the charge for services. It is more often that prostitutes receive not more than 30% or even have to sell their bodies only for food and clothes. Women and children are pushed to take these actions against their will, under the threat of physical violence accompanied by humiliation.

2) Sexual violence is one of the cruelest crimes known to human kind. Without special laws it is difficult for a woman to deal alone with a number of issues, which she has to face. Sexual oppression has always been parallel to sexual exploitation. Both these notions are nothing less but twins. Moreover, the act of sexual violence is an act to suppress moral resistance and to take control over the victim’s psyche.

3) Underage children are involved with sex work due to the flourishing of illegal prostitution in Kazakhstan. Often they become victims of sex industry and porno business, and are involved in this criminal cobweb against their will.

4) The secretiveness of this industry, which brings in a great benefit to the shadow market dealers, makes trafficking of girls abroad possible. There, the girls are deprived of all their rights and turned into animals.

The current bad working conditions of female sex workers require the state interference and an initiative to introduce regulatory mechanisms in this business. Sex workers need state’s help as their living conditions are not simply hard, but often monstrous and unbearable. We have to realize the fact that prostitution exists in modern society, and hence, our attitude toward the representatives of this ancient profession should be more liberal and loyal. Whether we want it or not, prostitution will always exist. It might not be in the form in which it is right now, but in a more covert or transformed way.

Our civic duty is to protect those women who cannot find the occupation in other spheres of life. A woman is not a commodity or a toy, nor is a man. Kazakh society is ready for the legalization of prostitution. This will play a positive role in the creation of a constitutional state.
Integral text (in Russian) available on http://zonakz.net/articles/15332

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