Friday, September 6, 2002

Rina Jimenez-David

Anti-Prostitution Ordinance on the Table

Whether or not to publicly name sex buyers has been the hottest point in discussions over the draft Ordinance on Prostitution over past weeks in Vietnam.

The six-chapter draft was completed by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs in March 2002 but has yet to gain consent from both the public and officials when put on the table in Ho Chi Minh City on August 30.

Deputy Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Justice Service Ngo Minh Hong objected to the measure, saying it would lead to family break ups.

"Releasing their name means not hitting the sex buyer but their wife and children," she said.

The draft only provides administrative punishment for sex buying while the rule on naming would affect the personal rights and dignity of citizens, said lawyer Pham Thanh from the central Binh Phuoc province.

Not to mention another possibility that this measure will give a huge amount of power to responsible agencies and certain individuals, which may be taken advantage of for personal gain, he pointed out.

Head of the Anti-Social Vice Department Nguyen Thi Hue, meanwhile, totally favors the release of sex buyer's names.

"There is no regulation banning the press from publishing the name of sex buyers and in reality, the release of 20 names in southern Can Tho province recently has had a certain use," said Hong. Can Tho is one of southern provinces that has the highest number of sex workers.

The announcement of sex buyers' name is deserved, and will also help to annul this sick delight, said one reader of the Phap Luat TP HCM (HCM City Law) newspaper. Strict punishment is considered humane if it is strong enough to prevent or deter those who intend to violate the regulation. Vice versa, law and order is not served if the regulation is so light that it does not discourage sex buyers.

The draft also proposes deportation from the country's territory if the sex buyers are found to be foreigners.

Prostitution has not been recognized as a legal business as in other countries, after a long controversy in recent times. "Prostitution is prohibited in all forms," says the draft.

Around 37,000 women are working as prostitutes in Vietnam, of whom 39% or 14,600 are under the supervision list of authorities, reports the Anti-Social Vices Department.

Some 11.3% out of sex buyers are juveniles, 15.4% foreigners, 17.7% pupils and students, 38.3% State cadres, including law protectors, university lecturers and State-run enterprise directors.

(Young People Sep 6 p2 & Sep 1 p3, HCM City Law Sep 5 p10, HCM City Youth Sep 3 p6)

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Created: September 9, 2002
Last modified: September 9, 2002
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