30 January 2008
Is prostitution a profession or way to survive?
By Olga Senchuk
Economic hardships faced off by Tajikistan in the recent years have laid a fertile ground for most of the women entering the sex industry. Official estimates show that an average salary in Tajikistan reaches $36. One-night stand girls earn about $100 per night depending on the client' wellbeing and marketability of the girl. Thus, many poverty-stricken women enter the industry for pragmatic reasons and with a general sense of awareness of the choice they are making.
With no doubt a patriarchal society affected by economic crisis is a hotbed for prostitution and sexual slavery. However, prostitution has shown some vague signs of slowing down. 367 women involved in prostitution were recorded in 2007, the same index for 2006 made up 410," the head of the Department on Moral Crimes under the Interior Minister Gairatsho Izatov said.
"Besides economic and social forces driving women to the sex industry there are other forces such as illiteracy, irresponsibility and ill-breading. Moreover, the present sex industry engulfs women of diverse ethnics and age. Prostitutes tend to be procured from rural areas or small towns for the cities or, as young, first-time job seekers new to urban areas, are vulnerable to being drawn into the sex sector. As a rule, these women are uneducated and lured by higher and easier earnings in spite of the stigma and danger attached to the work," Gairatsho Izatov added.
Gairatsho Izatov claims that schools and universities as well as families shall pay more attention to the moral education of young ladies; lecture on sexual interrelations, moral values to eliminate sexual and legal illiteracy.
Izatov added that trafficking in woman is a profitable business. Young ladies are trafficked to the United Arab Emirates under the pretext of a higher paid jobs of nannies, waitresses. Actually young women are caught into the sex industry toils and forced to become sexual slaves.
The Interior Ministry solved 15 cases of trafficking in women in 2007. 40 criminal proceedings were initiated in trafficking cases in 2006.
In the meanwhile the Interior Ministry has done a good stitch of work. It is quite impossible to counterfeit visas and IDs of women heading abroad. The Ministry officers extensively trace trafficking routes.
Each woman detained undergoes medical examination in the dermatovenerologic dispensary. Deliberate dissemination of venereal diseases by a sex-worker is criminally punished.
The Interior Minister believes that the tightening of punishments for involvement in the sex industry could have lessened the number of prostitutes. An administrative penalty imposed on prostitutes makes up $7 (minimum monthly wage) as a preventive measure. In case of the re-arrest on the same basis the prostitute will be forced to pay $14.
However, the government is constrained not only because of the sensitivity and complexity of the issues involved but also because the circumstances of the sex workers can range widely from freely chosen and remunerative employment to debt bondage and virtual slavery.
30.01.2008 09:48 msk