With a resolution attached to the act that required the government to actively provide sex workers with conversion training courses, the government would help sex workers to develop skills to earn their living without having to rely on sex work to survive, Pan said.
The new law comes into effect today, after President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) later yesterday promulgated the amendment to the act.
Jiang, meanwhile, urged local governments to “face the issue” and promised that the ministry would hold further talks with local governments on creating red-light districts.
However, civic groups both supporting and opposing the sex industry criticized the amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act.
“The only purposes of the revision is to protect men’s right to hire prostitutes and to ensure that whoever wants to could have healthy women to buy,” Taiwan Women’s Link secretary-general Tsai Wan-fen (蔡宛芬) said yesterday. “We regret that women’s rights have gone back to where they were 30 years ago.”
The secretary-general of End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes Taiwan, Lee Li-fen (李麗芬), said that allowing the sex industry even within a specially designated area could be in violation of Article 6 of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, which states: “Parties shall take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women.”
Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters secretary-general Chung Chun-chu (鍾君竺) also criticized the red-light district amendment as empty and regressive.
“The law says that local governments ‘could’ create special districts,” she told a rally outside the Legislative Yuan. “You [the government] tell us that both the sex worker and the client would not be penalized within the district, but where is it? So far, none of the local governments have any plans to create red-light districts.”