Malta risks turning into a “sex tourism mecca” unless it criminalises sex buyers as part of a planned law to decriminalise prostitution, a coalition of NGOs and activists have claimed.
Their statement comes in the wake of a confirmation by parliamentary secretary for equality and reforms Rosianne Cutajar that she doesn’t intend to propose the criminalisation of clients, the so-called Nordic Model, as part of the planned law.
“Ditching the Nordic Model is an insult to women and will take our country backwards,” they said. “How can we believe that government has gender equality at heart if the same Government wants to continue facilitating the commodification and objectification of women’s bodies?”
“Decriminalising the selling of sex without criminalising the buying provides a very attractive situation for traffickers, pimps and johns to continue exploiting and denigrating women.”
They recounted how they had called for the Nordic Model during a public consultation exercise on the proposed law last September, a proposal they said was based on evidence-based research.
“We are urging government not to rush with this decision, and to rely on experts who have significant knowledge of the consequences of inappropriate and inadequate laws to protect against human trafficking and exploitation,” they said.
The following NGOs and activists have endorsed this statement:
Association for Equality, Attard Ladies Cultural Club, Azzjoni Kattolika Maltija, Caritas, Dar Hosea, Dar Merhba Bik, Department of Gender Studies (UOM), Department of Social Policy and Social Work (UOM), emPOWer Platform, Business and Professional Women (Valletta) Malta, Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs Malta, Malta Association of Women in Business, Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society, National Centre for Family Research, National Observatory for Living with Dignity, National Institute for Childhood, Malta Girl Guides, Moviment Nisa’ Partit Nazzjonalista, National Council of Women, Soroptimists International Malta, Young Women’s Christian Association, Faculty of Theology (UOM), Ghaqda Studenti tat-Teologija, Good Shepherd Sisters, Justice and Peace Commission, Local Councils’ Association, Malta Association of Public Health Medicine, Malta Confederation of Women’s Organisations, Malta Medical Students Association, Malta Midwives Association, Men Against Violence, OASI Foundation, Saint Jeanne Antide Foundation, SOS Malta, University Chaplaincy, Victim Support Malta, Women’s Rights Foundation, Women’s Study Group.
It is also endorsed by the following international organisations:
Coalition Abolition Prostitution International, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, European Network of Migrant Women, European Women’s Lobby, Survivors of Prostitution Abuse Calling for Enlightenment International