The practice of selling sex in Taiwan has been ignored, banned, legalized, and banned again … but of course, it never went away.
Anyone with a phone and a creative bone or two can find sex for sale anywhere in Taiwan — at rates ranging from NT$600 to “high-class” escorts that charge well over NT$10,000 for a night of adult activities.
When ex-president Chen Shui-bian was Taipei Mayor, he shut down the last legal brothels in the capital as part of some morality crusade, but as previously mentioned, the trade simply went underground.
Current Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je might be re-thinking things, however, as the Taiwan News reports:
“A 2011 amendment to the Social Order Maintenance Act allows local governments to set up special zones to legally manage sex trade, but many years have passed and no county or city in Taiwan has set up such a zone, resulting in penalization of both prostitutes and patrons as there are no legal places for them to engage in the sex trade. [A noted local historian has] suggested to Ko that the city government consider legalizing prostitution in accordance with the Social Order Maintenance Act.”
The mayor reportedly said if he had the support of city residents, he would consider a “Red Zone” — perhaps in WanHua District (which has long had a thriving sex trade).
What do you think? Is legalization the answer? Or should we go the road of some European nations and punish the ‘client,’ but not the sex worker? Tough questions … but pretending it doesn’t exist doesn’t change reality. Better to at least start talking about it, no?
(Cover photo from the film ‘Monga’ depicting a sex worker and a client in the WanHua District)