What is the legality of prostitution in Armenia?

What is the legal status of prostitution in Armenia?

In Armenia, prostitution is technically legal but regulated under the country’s laws. However, activities related to prostitution, such as operating brothels, pimping, and soliciting in public, are illegal. This has created a complicated legal landscape for sex workers and clients alike, making it difficult for those involved in the industry to navigate the law.

What are the laws, penalties, and law enforcement practices related to prostitution in Armenia?

There are several laws and penalties related to prostitution in Armenia. These include:

  • Operating a brothel: Under Article 262 of the Armenian Criminal Code, organizing or maintaining a place for prostitution is punishable by a fine, community service, or imprisonment for up to 3 years.
  • Pimping: According to Article 261 of the Criminal Code, organizing or aiding in the organization of prostitution is punishable by a fine, community service, or imprisonment for up to 5 years.
  • Soliciting in public: Article 182 of the Code of Administrative Offenses states that engaging in prostitution in public places is punishable by a fine of 20-40 times the minimum salary.

Despite these laws, enforcement is often lax, and there have been reports of corruption and abuse of power among law enforcement officials. Some sex workers have reported being subjected to violence and extortion by police officers, while others have claimed that they are often coerced into providing sexual services in exchange for avoiding fines or arrests.

How is prostitution referred to locally in Armenia?

In Armenia, prostitution is often referred to as առքային սեռ (arqayin ser), which translates to commercial sex or սեռական աշխատանք (serakan ashxatanq), meaning sexual work. The term prostitute is typically used to describe sex workers, although some organizations and activists prefer to use the term sex worker to emphasize the labor aspect of the profession and reduce stigma.

What is the historical background of prostitution in Armenia?

The history of prostitution in Armenia dates back to ancient times, with evidence of its existence found in various historical texts and artifacts. However, it was during the Soviet era that prostitution became more widespread and visible, as economic hardship and social changes led to an increase in the number of sex workers.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Armenia’s independence in 1991, the country experienced a severe economic crisis, which further contributed to the growth of the sex industry. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Armenia became a source and transit country for human trafficking, particularly for women and girls subjected to forced prostitution.

Over the years, there have been efforts to address the issue of prostitution and human trafficking in Armenia, with the government adopting anti-trafficking laws and launching various campaigns to raise awareness and provide support to victims. However, challenges remain, and sex workers continue to face stigma, discrimination, and violence.

What government laws and resources address prostitution in Armenia?

Armenia has implemented several laws and resources to address the issue of prostitution and human trafficking. These include:

  • National Action Plan: The government has adopted a National Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons, which aims to prevent human trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute perpetrators.
  • Anti-Trafficking Law: In 2003, Armenia passed the Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons and Crimes Connected with it, which criminalizes human trafficking and provides legal protection for victims.
  • Support services: The government, in collaboration with local and international organizations, provides various support services for victims of trafficking, including shelters, legal assistance, and psychological counseling.
  • Public awareness campaigns: The Armenian government has launched numerous public awareness campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of human trafficking and the rights of victims.

Despite these efforts, more work is needed to effectively address the complex issue of prostitution in Armenia and ensure the rights and safety of sex workers.

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