Sat, Aug 25, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Groups call for setting up red-light district in Taipei

LEGALIZING SEX TRADE:An advocate slammed police for cracking down on sex workers in inner cities, while tacitly allowing it in clubs and hotels favored by the rich

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Several civic organizations yesterday rallied for decriminalization of the sex trade and establishing a red-light district in Taipei similar to that of Amsterdam.

The goal is to protect the health and safety of sex workers and their right to earn a living, as well as the right of people in need of sexual services, the demonstrators said at the plaza in front of Longshan Temple (龍山寺) in Taipei’s Wanhua District (萬華).

It is not right for police to harass people on suspicion of engaging in the sex trade, busting into hotel rooms to arrest alleged sex workers and clients, as these are an abuse of their authority and a violation of the rights of private citizens, Alliance for Freedom of Speech head Hsiao Chung-han (蕭忠漢) said.

It is hypocritical for judicial and law enforcement agencies to zealously crack down on sex workers in inner cities and their clients who mainly come from the lower socioeconomic sector, while tacitly permitting sexual transactions at nightclubs, hostess bars and luxury hotels favored by the rich, Hsiao said.

Taipei should have a red-light district, which the city government can control and monitor, said Taiwan Independence Party Chairman Peter Ku (古文發), adding that he plans to run for Taipei mayor on Nov. 24.

By legalizing the sex trade, sex workers will have regular medical check-ups to protect their rights and enhance their safety, he said.

These will have the benefits of additional tax revenue, stamp out control of prostitution by organized crime, stem the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and enhance public security, he added.

“Taiwan should be a free, democratic nation, and we should respect human rights. Sex workers have the right to work, the right to an income and the right to live in dignity,” he said.

“We should have abolished these outdated laws a long time ago, which discriminates against sex workers and people’s inherent biological needs to have sex. The government should not deny the sexual nature of human beings,” he said.

Legalizing the sex trade can lead to a more healthy and stable society, and reduce violence and crime, said Lai Fu-jung (賴富榮), 908 Taiwan Republic Campaign’s Taipei director.

“We have many criminal incidents in Taiwan — sexual assaults against women and sex workers being violently beaten. We feel for these victims, most of whom are women, as they suffer permanent physical and mental scars,” he said.

“We believe that having a red-light district can reduce crime, where people can pay for service to release their sexual frustration and relieve their emotional problems. Some of the sexual assault, rape and violent beating cases were perpetrated by people with psychological problems and could not find a release for their sexual urges,” he said.

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