Is Prostitution Legal in Sao Tome and Principe?
Prostitution is illegal in Sao Tome and Principe. However, the enforcement of laws against prostitution is generally lax, and the practice remains widespread in the country. In this article, we will discuss the laws, penalties, and law enforcement practices related to prostitution in Sao Tome and Principe, as well as the local terminology and history of prostitution in the country.
What Are the Laws, Penalties, and Law Enforcement Practices in Sao Tome and Principe?
Although prostitution is illegal in Sao Tome and Principe, there are no specific laws that explicitly criminalize the act. Instead, the country’s Penal Code contains provisions that can be used to prosecute those involved in prostitution. Some of these provisions include:
- Article 231: Incitement to debauchery, which can be used to prosecute those who promote or facilitate prostitution.
- Article 233: Exploitation of the prostitution of others, which can be used to prosecute those who profit from the prostitution of others.
- Article 234: Procuring, which can be used to prosecute those who recruit or coerce individuals into prostitution.
Penalties for these offenses can range from fines to imprisonment, depending on the severity of the crime and the involvement of the offender. However, due to the lack of specific laws targeting prostitution, law enforcement efforts in this area are often limited and inconsistent. As a result, prostitution remains a widespread and visible issue in Sao Tome and Principe.
What is Prostitution Called Locally in Sao Tome and Principe?
In Sao Tome and Principe, prostitution is often referred to as trotcha or trotchagem. These terms are derived from the Portuguese word troto, which means to trot or walk quickly. This is likely a reference to the way in which prostitutes often move from one client to another or from one location to another in search of clients.
What is the History of Prostitution in Sao Tome and Principe?
Prostitution has been present in Sao Tome and Principe for many years, with the practice becoming more prevalent following the country’s independence from Portugal in 1975. During the colonial period, prostitution was largely confined to the island’s plantation workers, who were predominantly male and lived in isolated communities. However, after independence, the country experienced significant social and economic changes, including an increase in urbanization and tourism, which led to a growth in the demand for commercial sex.
Over the years, prostitution has become a significant social issue in Sao Tome and Principe, with many young women and girls engaging in the practice due to a lack of economic opportunities and social support. Despite the criminalization of prostitution, efforts to address the issue have been limited and largely ineffective, as the practice remains widespread and visible throughout the country.
What are the Government Laws and Links Regarding Prostitution in Sao Tome and Principe?
As previously mentioned, the Penal Code of Sao Tome and Principe contains provisions that can be used to prosecute individuals involved in prostitution. The Penal Code can be accessed through the government’s official website, but it is important to note that it is only available in Portuguese. The link to the Penal Code is here.
Additionally, the government of Sao Tome and Principe has ratified several international treaties and conventions related to human rights and the protection of women and children, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). These treaties and conventions can provide guidance and standards for the country’s efforts to address issues related to prostitution and human trafficking.