Just in time for Christmas: Romanian women and children are NOT for sale!
As Christmas and the end of the year approach, this is a good time for reflection on the problems of prostitution and human trafficking in Romania.
These are problems of staggering proportions in Romania, and leave a wasteland of personal and societal devastation.
Therefore, this petition is calling on the new PSD-led Coalition Government to reconsider the decriminalisation of prostitution, which occurred in 2014. And, we also call on the new Government to consider criminalising the purchase of sex, as well.
By downgrading the offence of prostitution from a criminal act to a civil act in the Romanian Civil Code, the Romanian Government, in effect, made it easier for pimps to operate...and, made human trafficking more likely.
Indeed, new studies have shown that human trafficking is more prevalent in countries which decriminalise, or legalise and regulate, prostitution. And, if the women simply have to pay a fine for breaking the statute, it is much easier for their pimps or traffickers to keep them on the streets.
Also, at the same time as the offence of prostitution was downgraded, the Civil Code was also amended to lessen the punishment given to pimps and human traffickers, from 5-15 years imprisonment, instead, to 3-10 years.
Taken together, these changes have only served to embolden pimps and human traffickers.
A Eurostat Report on human trafficking (please see below), released in 2015, states that Romania is proportionally the second-worst Member State of the EU for this problem (behind only Bulgaria), but actually has the highest number of registered victims in the whole of the EU.
During the period studied:
- 80% of human trafficking victims were women, and of those, 95% were trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
- Over 1,000 children were victims of human trafficking in the EU as a whole.
- 65% of registered victims were citizens of EU Member States.
- And, in Romania, slightly more than half of those victims were Romanian citizens.
This means that prostitution and human trafficking are taking a real human toll on Romanian society, especially among young girls and women living in the poorer regions of the country. Indeed, there are huge number of Romanian girls and women who end up on the streets of Bucharest, having been trafficked.
This is a deplorable state of affairs, and the government response, to-date, has been lacking.
Prostitution is not a "job". Yes, prostitution pays, but prostitutes are constantly subject to violence, to acquiring STDs or HIV/AIDS, and to having their dignity, as human beings, degraded. More often than not, it is a matter of exploitation and "forced labour" - whether by real, physical coercion, or by some other type of coercion, which can include economic hardship, or even emotional blackmailing.
And, "sex tourism" is neither healthy for the individual, nor society. It is fundamentally degrading of the human person, and can also tear apart the fabric of family life.
Therefore, not only should prostitution be re-criminalised and prison sentences for pimps and human traffickers lengthened, but the purchase of sex should also be criminalised (e.g., according to the "Nordic model").
After the introduction of such a law in Norway (i.e., criminalising the purchase of sex), both street and internet prostitution decreased, AND, human trafficking, for the purposes of sexual exploitation, also declined.
Of course, we do not wish to add to the suffering of prostitutes. And, as such, we would propose that first-and-second-time offenders be sentenced to either enter a work-training programme, finish their secondary education, or pursue third-level studies - and, be helped by the state (financially, if necessary) to do so.
As a society, we need to demonstrate that we are not willing to accept prostitution and human trafficking as a way of life, and, at the same time, we must be willing to actually help address this situation, by providing real, life-affirming solutions to the people involved.
Thank you for signing this petition, and thank you for standing up for the human person.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Sign this petition now!
Prostitution harms women and increases human trafficking: it's time to criminalise the sale and purchase of sex