What is the legality of prostitution in Afghanistan?

Is Prostitution Legal in Afghanistan?

In Afghanistan, prostitution is illegal and is considered a serious crime. The government and law enforcement agencies in the country take a strict stance against prostitution, and those involved in the sex trade face severe penalties if caught.

What are the Laws and Penalties Regarding Prostitution in Afghanistan?

Prostitution in Afghanistan is governed by several laws, including the Penal Code and the Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women. These laws address various aspects of the sex trade, including the buying and selling of sexual services, pimping, and brothel-keeping. The penalties for these offenses range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the nature of the crime and the circumstances involved.

  • Article 430 of the Penal Code criminalizes the act of selling sex and imposes a punishment of up to five years in prison for those found guilty.
  • Article 431 of the Penal Code penalizes the act of purchasing sex with a punishment of up to two years in prison.
  • Articles 432 and 433 of the Penal Code target pimping and brothel-keeping, imposing punishments of up to five years in prison.
  • The Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) addresses forced prostitution and trafficking in persons, with penalties ranging from five to 15 years in prison.

How is Prostitution Referred to Locally in Afghanistan?

In Afghanistan, prostitution is often referred to using local terms such as sigheh (temporary marriage) and baad (giving a woman as compensation for a crime). These practices are rooted in cultural and religious beliefs, and are often used to disguise the act of prostitution.

What is the History of Prostitution in Afghanistan?

Prostitution has been a part of Afghan society for centuries, with historical records dating back to the time of the Mughal Empire and beyond. However, it was during the Taliban regime (1996-2001) that the sex trade became more prevalent, as the group imposed strict laws that severely limited women’s rights and freedoms.

During the Taliban regime, many women were forced into prostitution due to poverty and a lack of alternative options for survival. This period also saw a rise in the number of sex trafficking cases, as criminal networks took advantage of the chaotic situation in the country to exploit vulnerable women and girls.

Since the fall of the Taliban, the Afghan government has made efforts to crack down on prostitution and sex trafficking, but the problem remains widespread. Factors such as ongoing conflict, widespread poverty, and the continued marginalization of women contribute to the persistence of the sex trade in Afghanistan.

What Government Laws and Resources are in Place to Address Prostitution in Afghanistan?

In addition to the laws mentioned above, the Afghan government has also implemented various initiatives and programs to combat prostitution and support victims. These include:

  • The National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan (NAPWA), which aims to promote gender equality and protect women’s rights, including addressing issues related to prostitution and sex trafficking.
  • The Anti-Human Trafficking and Smuggling Law, which criminalizes all forms of trafficking in persons, including forced prostitution.
  • The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which is responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs to promote gender equality and women’s rights, including efforts to combat prostitution and sex trafficking.
  • The Shelters for Victims of Human Trafficking, which provide safe accommodation, medical care, and psychosocial support to victims of sex trafficking and forced prostitution.

Despite these efforts, the Afghan government faces significant challenges in effectively addressing the issue of prostitution, including a lack of resources, ongoing conflict, and deeply entrenched cultural norms that perpetuate the marginalization of women.

1 thought on “What is the legality of prostitution in Afghanistan?”

  1. I’m going backpacking to Afghanistan and I’m wondering: Is prostitution legal in Afghanistan? Is there any punishment for prostitutes or clients? Please explain the laws in detail. Thanks!


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