Is Prostitution Legal in Kyrgyzstan?
In Kyrgyzstan, prostitution is illegal, but the country faces a significant issue with sex trafficking and forced prostitution. The legal status of prostitution in Kyrgyzstan has been debated and challenged for many years, but the government continues to crack down on the practice in an attempt to combat human trafficking and protect vulnerable women and children.
What are the Laws, Penalties, and Law Enforcement Practices?
The laws and penalties related to prostitution in Kyrgyzstan can be found in the Criminal Code. According to the Criminal Code:
- Article 261 criminalizes the organization of prostitution, punishable by a fine or imprisonment up to three years.
- Article 262 criminalizes the recruitment of individuals into prostitution, punishable by a fine or imprisonment up to five years.
- Article 263 criminalizes the exploitation of prostitution, punishable by a fine or imprisonment up to five years.
Law enforcement practices in Kyrgyzstan are often criticized for their lack of effectiveness in combating prostitution and human trafficking. Police corruption and the acceptance of bribes are widespread, which hinders the efforts to enforce the laws against prostitution. Additionally, the limited resources and training available to law enforcement officers contribute to the difficulty in identifying and prosecuting individuals involved in the sex trade.
What is Prostitution Called Locally in Kyrgyzstan?
Prostitution in Kyrgyzstan is commonly referred to as Torgovlya Lyubovyu or Торговля любовью in Russian, which translates to trade of love or love trade. Other terms include femeli (фемели) or jyldyz (жылдыз), both of which are slang terms for prostitutes.
What is the History of Prostitution in Kyrgyzstan?
Prostitution in Kyrgyzstan has a long and complex history, influenced by the country’s socio-economic conditions, cultural traditions, and political changes. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent economic crisis in the 1990s led to an increase in poverty and unemployment, forcing many women into prostitution as a means of survival.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Kyrgyzstan became a source, transit, and destination country for sex trafficking, with women and children being trafficked both within the country and internationally. The government began implementing various measures to combat human trafficking, such as the creation of the State Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons (2002-2005) and the establishment of the Department for Combating Human Trafficking within the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2003.
What Government Laws and Resources Address Prostitution?
In addition to the Criminal Code, several other government laws and resources address prostitution and human trafficking in Kyrgyzstan:
- The Law on Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking (2005) provides the legal framework for the government’s efforts to combat human trafficking, including measures to prevent, investigate, and prosecute trafficking offenses.
- The State Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons (2017-2020) is a comprehensive strategy aimed at improving the government’s response to human trafficking, with a focus on prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership.
- The Ministry of Internal Affairs’ Department for Combating Human Trafficking is responsible for investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases, as well as providing assistance to victims.
- The State Migration Service is responsible for implementing migration policies and preventing illegal migration, which is often linked to human trafficking and forced prostitution.
Despite these efforts, the problem of prostitution and human trafficking in Kyrgyzstan persists. It is crucial for the government to continue strengthening its efforts to combat these issues, including improving law enforcement practices, increasing resources for victim assistance, and raising public awareness about the dangers of prostitution and human trafficking.