Thursday 28 May 2020

Government should look at the sex industry holistically

The Malta Confederation of Women’ Organisations (MCWO) has been reiterating since 2013 that strip clubs, prostitution and trafficking are inextricably linked together.  Although this may not be immediately visible, sexual activity happens in the back rooms, in the VIP rooms, or in nearby flats or hotels.  So whilst strip club owners try to give the appearance that their business is harmless and clean, in reality such clubs serve to give a more acceptable facade to a dirty business. Hence, it is no wonder that strip club owners are pushing government to legislate. This would give them the blessing to operate with more legitimacy when in reality it is aiding the normalisation of prostitution and sexual abuse.  Strip clubs lure men for sex and implying that sex does not happen on the premises is tantamount to saying that first men are invited for a meal, then after whetting their appetites they are left hungry.
Government is duty bound to legislate for the common good not for the benefit of strip club owners.  MCWO suggests that government embarks on a serious process of looking at the sex industry holistically rather ask owners to set rules on what strippers should or should not wear and how clients should behave. In this process, the so-called ‘massage’ parlours which are also proliferating within our urban spaces including villages, should also be taken into consideration. We are aware that these ‘massage’ parlours are becoming of concern to strip club owners because they are now running into direct competition within their lurky businesses.
Furthermore, as indicated in the US Department of State report on Trafficking,   government should seriously tackle the issue of sex trafficking where women from China, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine are being trafficked into Malta to serve the expanding sex industry.  The Maltese government does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and the anti-trafficking budget of €20,000 is a joke.
Rather than report illegalities to the police, the MCWO is calling directly upon the government basing facts emanating from research which can be easily supported by police reports and statistics which confirm that places where strip clubs attract the worst kind of crime and illegal markets possible, including commercial sex trade where women become goods.

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