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Amended social order act seen as making policing more difficult

Amended social order act seen as making policing more difficult

Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) Police officers face a tougher challenge in cracking down on illegal sex trade activities because of an amended social order law that took effect Sunday, policemen serving at district police offices in Taipei said Monday. Under the revised Social Order Maintenance Act, local governments can set up designated districts in which the sex trade would be legalized, but in any sexual transactions outside the zones, both prostitutes and their customers will be fined up to NT$30,000. That has police on the front lines less enthusiastic to crack down on the illegal sex trade because "it is more difficult to get people buying sex to confess they are guilty," a basic level policeman in Taipei said. Unlike the new law, previous regulations only punished prostitutes while exempting customers from any responsibility, so it was easy for the police to secure their testimony against the women who served them and rack up arrests. But now, "who would want to confess they bought sex" outside legal sex trade zones, said the policeman, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. Instead, the police must use new investigation strategies to collect evidence of illegal sex transactions, including conducting separate interrogations and gathering evidence from the scene of the act. Even then, it may not be enough to prove a violation occurred, the policeman said. The thinking behind the revised law is to recognize that prostitution exists and allow the sex trade to be practiced legally in certain specific areas. But as of now, no local government in Taiwan has expressed the willingness to draw out special districts for the sex trade, meaning it is basically illegal for anyone in Taiwan to buy or sell sex. Yet on Monday, the National Police Agency reported zero cases of any violations of the new law, raising questions about how easy it will be to enforce. Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah said the government would strengthen awareness of the new measure in the three months after it takes effect, but he made it clear that those found violating the law would not be given a grace period. First-time violators will be fined up to NT$6,000, second-time violators will face a maximum fine of NT$12,000, and third-time violators will be fined up to NT$30,000, he said. (By Johnson Sun and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-04-14 15:06 GMT+08:00