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Top Malta Government Adviser: People Who Pay For Sex Shouldn’t Be Prosecuted

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People shouldn’t be prosecuted for paying for sex and prostitutes should be allowed the free will to choose that line of work, government adviser Robert Musumeci has argued.

“The debate on whether those paying for sex should be prosecuted makes interesting discussion. I am inclined to say ‘no’ provided regulation premised on a studied definition of ‘consent’ and ‘volition’ is in place,” Musumeci tweeted.

The government today launched a public consultation document ahead of reforms on human trafficking and prostitution. While the document clearly states that prostitutes themselves should be decriminalised and their criminal records wiped clean, it leaves open what should happen to their clients.

And Musumeci said he is sceptical of the ‘Nordic model’, which decriminalises prostitutes but criminalises their clients. 

“The point of departure should be volition, that is to say whether the client and the prostitute are engaging in the act under their own free will or if the prostitute is being forced into that line of work,” he told Lovin Malta. “Focus should be on combating forced prostitution which is a no-go area for it lacks the essential element of volition.

He challenged the oft-repeated argument that prostitution is an undignified job to begin with.

“Dignity is a relative term, incidental to one’s state of mind and perceptions towards a socially constructed world,” he said.

“People have a right to the opinion that being a prostitute is an undignified job for which reason they simply should not engage in being one. Others also have a right to feel it’s dignified if they so please.”

“Some people come up with 101 notions to convince others that being gay is undignified and they certainly have every right to believe so. Clearly, there are those who hold otherwise and should not be penalised for thinking so.”

Launching the public consultation document today, parliamentary secretary for reforms Julia Farrugia Portelli said the ultimate aim of the proposed reform is to protect victims of human trafficking and prostitution. She added that the reform will certainly not include the legalisation of brothels.

READ NEXT: Malta’s Lead Divorce Campaigner Targets Legal Prostitution Next: ‘What Are We Waiting For?’

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