Taiwan has legalized prostitution in its territories, making it and Singapore now the only two entities in Eastern Asia to do so.
TAIPEI, Taiwan Taiwan parliament passed a bill that legalizes commercial sex work on Friday, but only within the officially designated red-light districts. The bill says that outside those districts authorities can still penalize prostitutes and their patrons. The law will go into effect today.
Local governments can set aside the special districts. The new law says any sex-trade participant caught outside the special zones can be fined up to $1,000. Pimps could be fined up to $1,660.
Since 2009, Taiwanese parliamentarians have mulled the future of prostitution, with the remarkably well organized sex industries lobbying hard to legalize the trade for both workers and patrons, including for the most frequent police targets: women on street corners.
The government’s move on Friday is being touted as a vote of confidence for the Island’s thriving sex industry.
Prostitution laws of the world, green - legal, blue - legal but regulated, red - illegal. Taiwan is now blue
Interior Minister Chiang Yi-hua says prostitution is condoned in the special zones. He says residents may oppose it but the zones are needed to take care of human needs.
‘The reality is that prostitution exists, it exists throughout the world even when there is a total ban on it,’ the Interior Minister told a press conference. 'This is a reality and social issues that we have to face, and it would be better we concentrate them in special zones and to regulate those zones, instead of letting them to operate underground and unregulated."
Under the new law, sex workers will be banned from directly soliciting business on the street. Instead, they have to operate in brothels. Public advertising for such services will also be banned. In addition, all sex workers will be required to register themselves with local authorities and undergo regular health checks.
Singapore & Taiwan - a taste for Eastern Asian women?
Taiwanese legislators drafted three bills, one called for punishing only the clients, while another called for the opening up of sex industries in its entirely, although both were rejected on Friday.
The interior ministry said the majority of the public are in favor of the third bill, that is conditionally opening up the sex industry in special zones and have the authorities regulate and monitor it to thaw off criminal groups.
Prior to this, Singapore was the only state in Eastern Asia to legalize prostitution, the city-state allows prostitution to thrive in strictly designated areas, and its Geylang district is the largest and most famous among them. In contrast with Singapore, where homosexuality is not legal, gay rights in Taiwan is one of the most vibrant in Asia, and the prostitution activities is expected to include males.