• Health and tax legislation for prostitutes

The proposals submitted by Livia Turco, Italy's Minister for Social Affairs, on regulating prostitution are interesting and for the first time they open a discussion in Italy on the current situation of prostitution which is unsustainable. It is some time that I have been pointing out that the introduction of an ad-hoc regulation for prostitution in Italy is most urgent for a number of reasons: fight against organized crime, rehabilitation of certain areas of our towns and for health-related conditions. In reorganizing prostitution we could follow the examples set by such towns as Amsterdam and Berlin, where prostitution is restricted to specific areas or to specific places which are regularly controlled by health and tax inspectors. The means to enforce a regulation for prostitution may vary but the end is only one: take prostitutes away from the street and from the criminal gangs and keep an activity which is presently more or less underground under tax and health controls. The opponents of compulsory health check-ups should bear in mind that in our country there are many categories of employees that are obliged to undergo medical check-ups at regular intervals which means they cannot work if their health conditions are not found to be sound. On the contrary, it seems like in our country no one worries about the fact that HIV-positive prostitutes can go on working without anyone being able to stop them. Within the framework of the proposed reorganization, the health check-ups would have an educational effect in that prostitutes could be more easily convinced to use condoms at all times, even when clients offer higher prices to have unprotected sex, and they would be induced to do so because they would be aware that if the regular check-ups determine that they are affected by a sexually-transmitted disease (not only HIV), they would have to stop working. This is exactly what happens in Berlin and Amsterdam where it is virtually impossible for a client to have sex without a condom, because the prostitutes, who are obliged to undergo regular health check-ups, definitely refuse to do so. And finally it should be clear to everyone, even though it appears not to be, that even if some prostitutes are successfully removed from the streets, they are immediately replaced by a great many more who in the meantime arrive without any form of control from the countries of Eastern Europe and from Africa. Albeit commendable, restoring a few prostitutes to a normal life unfortunately has little impact on the overall situation. And then there are those who constantly cry out against enslaved prostitutes, who of course do exist, but they forget that most of these women know what is ahead of them when they leave their countries. For instance in Albania Italian television is quite popular, hence people are informed about what happens to many Albanian girls who come to Italy, and in some instances African women actually sign a contract for a given amount of money that they will have to pay back in a certain period of time. Therefore most foreign prostitutes working in Italy at the present time knew what sort of job they would be doing when they came to our country.


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