What is the Legal Status of Prostitution in Brunei?
Prostitution is illegal in Brunei, a small nation located on the island of Borneo in Southeast Asia. The country’s legal system is heavily influenced by Islamic law, and as a result, engaging in, organizing, or promoting prostitution is strictly prohibited and punishable by law. In recent years, Brunei has further tightened its stance on vice-related activities, including the introduction of Sharia law, which prescribes strict penalties for moral offenses, including prostitution.
What Laws, Penalties, and Law Enforcement Affect Prostitution in Brunei?
Brunei’s legal system includes several laws that specifically target prostitution and related activities. These include:
- The Penal Code, which criminalizes the act of engaging in prostitution, as well as soliciting, living off the earnings of prostitution, and managing or owning a brothel.
- The Sharia Penal Code Order, which introduces harsher punishments for those convicted of engaging in or facilitating prostitution, including flogging and imprisonment.
- The Women and Girls Protection Act, which provides additional protections for women and girls who may be vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking.
Penalties for violating these laws can be severe, ranging from fines and imprisonment to corporal punishment, such as whipping or caning. Law enforcement agencies in Brunei, including the Royal Brunei Police Force, actively enforce these laws and conduct raids on suspected brothels and other locations where prostitution may be taking place.
What is Prostitution Called Locally in Brunei?
In Brunei, prostitution may be referred to using various terms and slang, depending on the context and speakers. Some common terms include:
- Pelacur – A Malay term for a prostitute, used in both Brunei and neighboring Malaysia.
- Jual diri – A Malay phrase that translates to selling oneself, often used to describe the act of engaging in prostitution.
- Wanita malam – A Malay term meaning night women, which may be used to refer to sex workers.
What is the History of Prostitution in Brunei?
Historically, prostitution has been present in Brunei, although it has never been legal or widely accepted. The introduction of Islamic law in the 15th century led to a stricter stance on moral issues, including prostitution. In the 20th century, Brunei became a British protectorate, and British colonial authorities implemented laws to further criminalize prostitution and related activities.
In recent decades, Brunei has continued to enforce strict laws against prostitution, driven in part by concerns over human trafficking and the exploitation of vulnerable women and girls. The introduction of Sharia law in 2014 has led to even harsher penalties for those involved in the sex trade, reflecting the country’s ongoing commitment to addressing the issue.
What are Some Helpful Links, Government Laws, and Resources Regarding Prostitution in Brunei?
For those seeking further information on the legal status of prostitution in Brunei and the country’s efforts to combat the issue, the following resources may be helpful:
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) – Global Report on Trafficking in Persons – This report provides an overview of human trafficking trends around the world, including information on Brunei’s efforts to address the issue.
- U.S. Department of State – Trafficking in Persons Report – This annual report assesses the efforts of governments around the world, including Brunei, to combat human trafficking and protect vulnerable populations.
- Laws of Brunei – Penal Code – This document provides the full text of Brunei’s Penal Code, including provisions related to prostitution and related offenses.
- Laws of Brunei – Sharia Penal Code Order – This document outlines the provisions of Brunei’s Sharia Penal Code, including punishments for those convicted of engaging in or facilitating prostitution.