Mon, May 01, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Sex workers call for an end to policemen `fishing'

STREETS PROTEST Prostitutes were joined by educators and social workers in a show of solidarity yesterday aimed at persuading authorities to regulate the sex industry

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A woman gets help to put ting on a mask as she prepares for a scooter parade through Taipei's Wanhua and Datung districts yesterday to back demands that sex work should be decriminalized and that the city government stop using policemen as bait to ``fish'' for prostitutes. About 500 prostitutes, academics and social workers dressed up in different costumes to participate in the parade.

PHOTO: CHENG HSUEH-YUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

More than 300 supporters of decriminalizing sex work took part in a scooter parade in Taipei's Wanhua and Datung districts yesterday.

One of their demands was for the city government to stop using policemen as bait to "fish" for prostitutes engaging in sexual transactions.

"Fishers" is a slang term used by prostitutes to refer to policemen who pretend to be patrons and seek to arrest suspects engaging in illegal sexual transactions.

Supporters also demanded that Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) express his policy on the sex industry by June 15, the date that designated as Policemen's Day.

"Even though Ma was trying to differentiate himself from Chen Shui-bian, what he did was simply to amend the policy a little, but it is filled with hypocrisy," said the statement issued by the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters.

Other social groups also joined the event. Wang Huei-woan (王慧婉), vice chairman of the Grassroots Teachers' Association, said the association also supported the cause because sex is a legitimate need of humans.

"As educators, we think that it is better to lay out everything on the table rather than using hypocrisy and lies to cover up the reality," Wang said.

In addition to the parade, organizers also put on skits mocking the government for playing "number politics" by taking on individual prostitutes to raise its arrest figures.

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