I have decided to open this new category on the blog called “Prostitution” in which I intend to publish different data and thoughts that (I guess :P) I will be having while collaborating with the association “Mimosa” (that works with prostitutes). So… here you guys have the first article, Ten things to know about prostitution in Italy. 

  1. “The prostitution is not a crime…”. Practicing prostitution is not penalized according to the Penal Code and, because of that, you cannot be arrested not sent to jail for practicing it.
  2. “…but it is not legalized”. Prostitution is not a crime but neither it is regulated. In this sense, prostitutes make money practicing a not-penalized-activity which at the same time is not regulated nor protected by the Law. Because of that, they don’t pay taxes and, legally talking, they don’t have a “job”.
  3. “Brothels are illegal…”. In 1958 the “Merlin Law” was approved in Italy. Its name comes from the senator Lina Merlin (first woman in the Italian Senate), which was the one driving it. In an attempt to end up with the terrible working and hygienic conditions that prostitutes had in brothels (which ironically are called “case di tolleranza” -tolerance houses- in Italian) and also with the exploitation they were suffering, they Law proposed to close all of these buildings. From then and until now, brothels are illegal.
  4. “…but in-doors prostitution is committed”. In some houses prostitution is committed in an organized way. This is illegal: you can practice prostitution but a there cannot be a “mediator” that “organizes” or “coordinates” this activity. Whoever that promotes or “drives” this kind of activities is committing a crime. Furthermore, the exploitation and the white slave trade is illegal and punished.
  5. Being a client is fined. This depends on a Regional Law (town hall) and not on a State Law (central government). But in Padova (and actually in most of the cities in Italy) if you are caught paying for such a service, you are fined (you don’t end up in jail but you have to pay a fine).
  6. How many? Only during 2015, in Veneto region (whose capital is in Venice and where Padova is located) more than 1500 prostitutes were recorded. During the first six months of 2016, in Padova, Vicenza and Treviso (the three cities in which Mimosa association works) 859 prostitutes were recorded (each of them with a life and a story).
  7. From where? Prostitutes of this region come mainly from three places: East Europe, Nigeria and South America (these last ones are normally transsexuals M to F).
  8. How? The way the white slave trade works is different in each country. In Nigeria, for example, girls that are in a extreme necessity situation are promised to have a job as baby-sitters, waitress or models in Italy. The moment they arrive in here, they realize that they were promised a reality that simply doesn’t exist.
  9. Why? Women left their countries under the promise of a better reality pushed by the misery situation they are facing in their home environments. They naively think that it will improve the moment they arrived in Italy.
  10. What does it happen when they arrive? When they arrive they are told that they have acquired a debt for the trip and all the facilities they had. That’s something they were never mentioned before. Under the fear of being deported, ending up in jail or commit a crime, and promoted by the same people that brought them in here, these women end up practicing prostitution, in order to make money and give back the money they owe. The debt they have to pay is around 40.000€.
  11. The 100% of the prostitutes of Italy are exploited. Such a sentence depends, of course, on what we understand by “exploitation”. But if we understand by such a concept the mere fact of having to give part of the money you make to a “mediator” for the only reason of BEING IN A PUBLIC STREET, then we can affirm that there is no prostitute nowadays (at least in Veneto region) that is not exploited.
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