What is the legality of prostitution in Mongolia?

Is Prostitution Legal in Mongolia?

In Mongolia, prostitution is illegal, yet it is a widespread and growing problem. Although the practice is technically against the law, it is often ignored by authorities and has become an increasingly prevalent issue in both urban and rural areas of the country. The legal framework surrounding prostitution in Mongolia is complex and includes various laws, penalties, and law enforcement practices.

What Are the Laws, Penalties, and Law Enforcement Practices Regarding Prostitution in Mongolia?

The primary legal instrument addressing prostitution in Mongolia is the Criminal Code. Article 124.1 of the Criminal Code prohibits organizing, forcing, or otherwise facilitating prostitution, while Article 262.1 criminalizes the act of engaging in prostitution.

Law Penalty
Organizing, forcing, or facilitating prostitution (Article 124.1) Imprisonment for up to 5 years
Engaging in prostitution (Article 262.1) Fine of 3-5 times the minimum monthly wage or administrative detention for up to 30 days

Despite the existence of these laws, enforcement is generally lax. Police are often accused of corruption, and many sex workers report being extorted, harassed, or assaulted by law enforcement officers. As a result, the criminalization of prostitution in Mongolia has not led to a significant reduction in the practice, and many sex workers continue to operate with relative impunity.

How is Prostitution Referred to Locally in Mongolia?

Prostitution in Mongolia is often referred to as tsaatan or tsaatan biznes, which translates to reindeer or reindeer business in English. This term is derived from the fact that many sex workers in Mongolia are from rural areas where reindeer herding is a common livelihood. The term is used to describe both the act of engaging in prostitution and the sex workers themselves.

What is the History of Prostitution in Mongolia?

Prostitution has been present in Mongolia for centuries, with historical records indicating that the practice was common during the time of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. However, the modern landscape of prostitution in Mongolia has been shaped by a variety of factors, including the country’s transition from a socialist state to a market economy, high levels of poverty and unemployment, and an influx of foreign tourists and businesspeople.

In the 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Mongolia experienced a rapid increase in prostitution as the country faced severe economic challenges. The number of sex workers grew as many women turned to prostitution as a means of survival, while a rise in tourism and foreign investment created new opportunities for the sex industry to expand.

What are the Government Laws and Resources Addressing Prostitution in Mongolia?

Recognizing the need to address the issue of prostitution, the Mongolian government has implemented various laws and resources aimed at tackling the problem. These efforts include:

  • Establishing a National Committee on Gender Equality to promote gender equality and combat gender-based violence, including prostitution.
  • Launching a National Program on Gender Equality and Women’s Development, which includes provisions for the prevention of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
  • Implementing the Law on Combating Human Trafficking, which criminalizes human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and provides support and protection for victims.
  • Collaborating with international organizations, such as the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration, to develop and implement projects aimed at combating human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Despite these efforts, the issue of prostitution in Mongolia remains a significant challenge. In order to effectively address the problem, it is essential for the government to continue working towards improving law enforcement practices, providing support and resources for victims, and promoting social and economic development that can offer alternative livelihoods for those at risk of entering the sex industry.

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