TAIPEI–The government said yesterday it is planning to create legal red-light districts so it can police the sex trade more easily and protect sex workers’ rights.
Under the proposal, sex workers would be able to apply for licenses to operate in authorized zones and would be punished, along with their clients, for plying their trade elsewhere. Prostitutes currently face three days in jail or a fine of up to NT$30,000 (US$1,000) if they are caught providing sexual services, however, their clients go unpunished.
“The government intends to open the sex industry to a moderate degree to better regulate it in accordance with the majority of public opinions,” said Liu Wen-shih, of the interior ministry, which is due to submit the proposal to the cabinet next month.
A poll commissioned by the ministry late last year found that 76.5 percent were in favor of conditionally opening up the sex trade while 14.5 percent wanted a ban and 7.6 percent supported unconditional opening.