Is Prostitution Legal in Quintana Roo, Mexico?
In Mexico, prostitution is legal, but procuring or pimping is not. Each of the country’s 31 states has its own regulations on the matter, and the state of Quintana Roo, where the popular tourist destinations of Cancun and Playa del Carmen are located, is no exception. In Quintana Roo, prostitution is technically legal but subject to certain restrictions and regulations.
What Penalties and Enforcement Measures Exist?
While prostitution is legal in Quintana Roo, there are strict penalties for pimping and sex trafficking. Pimping is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and sex trafficking is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. Additionally, brothels are not allowed to operate within 100 meters of schools or public buildings. Prostitutes are also required to undergo regular health checks and carry a health card to prove they are free of sexually transmitted diseases.
However, the enforcement of these laws is often lax, especially in tourist areas where prostitution is considered an essential part of the local economy. In these areas, local authorities may turn a blind eye to brothels operating in close proximity to schools or public buildings, as long as they do not cause disturbances or pose a threat to public safety.
How is Prostitution Referred to Locally in Quintana Roo, Mexico?
Prostitution in Quintana Roo is often referred to as la vida galante (the gallant life) or el oficio más antiguo (the oldest profession). Locals may also use slang terms like ficheras or gatas to refer to prostitutes, while brothels are sometimes called zona de tolerancia (tolerance zones) or zona roja (red-light districts).
What is the History of Prostitution in Quintana Roo, Mexico?
Prostitution has been present in Quintana Roo since its early days as a Mexican territory. The development of the tourism industry in the region, particularly in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, has led to an increase in the demand for sex tourism and prostitution.
During the 20th century, Quintana Roo saw the rise of several infamous red-light districts, such as La Zona Galante in Cancun and Playa 69 in Playa del Carmen. These areas were known for their high concentration of brothels and sex workers and were popular among both local residents and foreign tourists. However, due to pressure from local residents and international organizations, many of these red-light districts have been closed down or moved to more discreet locations in recent years.
Where Can You Find Helpful Links, Government Laws, and Resources?
If you are interested in learning more about the laws and regulations surrounding prostitution in Quintana Roo, Mexico, the following resources may be helpful:
- International Labour Organization – Mexican Federal Labor Law (in English)
- Chamber of Deputies of Mexico – Legal Database (in Spanish)
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – General Law to Prevent, Sanction and Eradicate Crimes in the Field of Trafficking in Persons and for the Protection and Assistance of Victims of these Crimes (in Spanish)
- The Protection Project – A Human Rights Report on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children: Mexico (in English)
It is important to remember that while prostitution is legal in Quintana Roo, it is still subject to certain restrictions and regulations. If you are planning to visit the region, be aware of local laws and respect the rights and dignity of sex workers.