Changhua councilors propose Taiwan's first lawful 'sex trade zone'

Central Taiwanese city poised to become first in country to designate area where prostitution is legal

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(gettyimages photo)

(gettyimages photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Changhua County Councilors have proposed legalizing prostitution within a specified area with the aim of reducing crime, giving unskilled men and women access to economic resources and offering single and disabled people lawful and safe access to sex.

A 2011 amendment to the Social Order Maintenance Act allows local governments to set up special zones in which to legally manage the sex trade. However, no county or city in Taiwan has yet set up such a zone, resulting in the continued penalization of both sex workers and their customers.

According to a World Health Organization report, profits from the sex industry in Thailand between 1993 and 1995 were three times higher than that from the drug trade.

A total of 15 Changhua councilors from both the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party on Monday (June 15) jointly proposed a bill to set up a regulated zone for sex workers to avoid the social problems that often accompany the sex trade. They believe the move can bring about a variety of benefits, including significant tax income for both the local and central government and increased health and safety for sex workers as well as their patrons.

Changhua's well-known red-light district used to be located in Huatan Township, but it shifted to Xihu Township after a crackdown nine years ago.

There are reports of the operation of illegal brothels in other parts of the country, including Taipei City's Wanhua District, Taichung City's Fengyuan District, Yunlin County's Huwei Township, Chiayi County's Shuishang Township, Tainan's Xinying District, and Kaohsiung City's Luzhu and Fengshan Districts.