Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Jamaica AIDS Support for Life wants prostitution decriminalised

Published:Friday | June 9, 2017 | 6:26 AMEdmond Campbell

The Jamaica AIDS Support for Life is urging the Government to decriminalise prostitution and introduce a regulatory regime which would require sex workers to comply with general laws dealing with labour, occupational health and safety and human rights.

Addressing the joint select committee of Parliament reviewing the Sexual Offences Act on Wednesday, spokesman, Patrick Lalor, argued that the current laws drive prostitutes underground, limits their ability to negotiate safe sex and to have sex in safe places, and exposes them to increased levels of violence.

Lalor said these issues increase their risk of contracting HIV and sexually transmitted infections.

Meanwhile, the spokesman said Jamaica AIDS Support for Life also has concerns with the section of the law which speaks to living off the earnings of prostitution.

Lalor said that this has serious implications for the children of sex workers and the elderly parents of sex workers who are taken care of by the proceeds of these activities.

He also the area of the law which speaks to habitually being in the company of a prostitute is also problematic.

He said this has implications for outreach groups like his organisation which provide services to sex workers as they run the risk of prosecution as they have been found habitually in the company of prostitutes.

Lalor says while the police exercise discretion the law personnel working in outreach groups are still at risk.