PM urged to not rush decisions on the decriminalisation of sex work

Women organisations and academics urge the Prime Minister to not rely on uninformed opinion

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Several NGOs have warned the government that when decriminalising prostitution without criminalising the buyer will open the floodgates for trafficking, and risks turning Malta into a mecca for sex Tourism. 

38 women’s organisations and academics are urging the government not to rush with this decision, and to rely on experts who have significant knowledge of the consequences of inappropriate and inadequate laws to protect against human trafficking and exploitation. 

The group of NGOs and academics said in a press statement that they are hoping that Government will not rely on uninformed opinion, but respect the evidence-based conclusions drawn by civil society and all those who endorsed the proposal for the Nordic Model – which is based on evidence-based research.   

“Ditching the Nordic Model is an insult to women and will take our country backwards.  How can we believe that the government has gender equality at heart if the same Government wants to continue facilitating the commodification and objectification of women’s bodies?”

The NGOs mentioned how there is a consultation process on the matter which is ongoing and the NGOs are due to have a hearing on Wednesday 4th in the Social Affairs Committee in Parliament.

In their press statement group of NGOs and academics have made reference to what Prime Minister Robert Abela stated regarding prostitution during a political activity in Naxxar on Sunday.

Labour leader Robert Abela said that prostitution should not remain a criminal offence. Then explained how many people who work as prostitutes would have grown up in that environment and do not know better, with some starting out as prostitutes at the age of 12.

Robert Abela also added that he will not accept a situation were prostitutes are sent to prison instead of receiving all the help they need.

On this, the NGOs said they are in full agreement with the Prime Minister but they have also urged him to not ignore the advice and expertise of women and local and international experts in the field, on something that directly concerns them. 

The proposals are endorsed by the following local organisations:

Association for Equality (A4E), Attard Ladies Cultural Club (ALCC) Azzjoni Kattolika Maltija (AKM), Caritas, Dar Hosea, Dar Merhba Bik, Department of Gender Studies (UOM), Department of Social Policy and Social Work (UOM), emPOWer Platform, Business and Professional Women (Valletta) Malta (BPW), Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs Malta (FWE), Malta Association of Women in Business (MAWB), Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society (MFWS), National Centre for Family Research, National Observatory for Living with Dignity, National Institute for Childhood, Malta Girl Guides (MGG), Moviment Nisa’ Partit Nazzjonalista (MNPN), National Council of Women (NCW), Soroptimists International Malta (SI), Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), Faculty of Theology (UOM), Ghaqda Studenti tat-Teologija, Good Shepherd Sisters, Justice and Peace Commission, Local Councils’ Association, Malta Association of Public Health Medicine (MAPHM), Malta Confederation of Women’s Organisations (MCWO), Malta Medical Students Association (MMSA), Malta Midwives Association (MMA), Men Against Violence (MAV), OASI Foundation, Saint Jeanne Antide Foundation (SJAF), Solidarity Overseas Service (SOS) Malta, University Chaplaincy, Victim Support Malta (VSM), Women’s Rights Foundation, Women`s Study Group (WSG)

This proposal is endorsed by the following international organisations:

Coalition Abolition Prostitution (CAP) International, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), European Network of Migrant Women (ENOMW), European Women’s Lobby (EWL), Survivors of Prostitution Abuse Calling for Enlightenment (SPACE) International