Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Churches and lobby group want persons who pay for sex punished

Published:Wednesday | June 21, 2017 | 6:16 PMJovan Johnson
In this 2014 file photo a commercial sex worker trys to attract a customer on Port Henderson Road.

A group of churches and the lobby group Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society have proposed that lawmakers pass laws to punish persons who buy sex.

A representative, Philippa Davies, read out the groups' submissions this afternoon to a parliamentary group reviewing Jamaica's sex laws.

She urged the lawmakers to reject the recommendation by the Jamaica Aids Support for the decriminalisation of prostitution especially to respond to HIV/AIDS cases.

The church groups pointed to a 2014 study which noted the decline in HIV cases among sex workers from 21 per cent in 1990 to 4.1 per cent in 2004.

Davies said that data shows Jamaica making progress in reducing HIV/AIDS cases without decriminalising prostitution.

She argued that prostitution degrades and demeans women and girls and facilitates their abuse.

She said a law against prostitution is a reminder that sex is not a commodity.

The group also linked its suggestion that Parliament punish buyers of prostitution services to human trafficking, which it said could be considered in the act of buying sex.

The church groups involved are the Jamaica Association of Full Gospel Churches, the Jamaica Union of Seventh-Day Adventists, the Jamaica Evangelical Alliance, the Church of God in Jamaica, Independent Churches of Jamaica and Pentecostal Union.