Czech Pirate Party has revived efforts to legalize prostitution and now want to prepare a new regulation that would grant prostitutes the status of self-employed workers and give the authorities the power to regulate the oldest profession.
“The largest brothel in Prague has a larger number of [annual] visitors than Konopiště Castle. But it still seems that none of this is happening. It is necessary to stop closing our eyes to this topic and take into account the fact that sexual services are provided not only by women but also by men,” says Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib.
According to the Czech NGO Rozkos bes Rizika, in 2019 there were between 12,000 and 13,000 sexual workers offering paid services in the Czech Republic.
“I do not want them to continue to live illegally. I believe that, if the profession were to be legalized, they would be recognized as self-employed and therefore be entitled to get support from the state. The majority of women offering sexually paid services are mothers with two children under the age of 10,” says Eva Horáková, chairwoman of the Social Policy Committee.
“We believe that women should at least get a chance to provide paid sexual services as self-employment, which they currently can’t do under Czech law,” she adds.
The Czech policy on prostitution falls under the abolitionist model, in fact outdoor and indoor prostitution is not prohibited, but it is not regulated and not considered as work.
“Most of these women and men are not properly protected from a work point of view and it often happens that they do not get paid from club owners, managers or clients. It is more difficult for them to get health or social insurance and a pension, and they live in a gray economic zone,“ adds Vít Šimral, Prague City Councilor for Education, Sport, Science and Business Support.
Prague produced a similar version of the bill in 2008, and it went nowhere. To enter into force, the bill would require the Czech Republic to pull out of a 1950 international convention against human trafficking.
Prostitution related crimes and the offence of THB
“Prostitution is legal, but the Criminal Code prohibits prostitution-related activities. Explicitly it prohibits pandering, which is defined as an act of forcing or enticing another to prostitute or of profiting from another’s prostitution (Article 204.1)”(23). The offence is punishable by imprisonment for up 3 years. There are some aggravating circumstances in cases involving violence, threat of violence or other serious harm, or misuse of a position of dependence. The sentence increases for up 5 years. It is further enhanced to up to 8 years if the offence is committed against a person less than 18 years of age.
Prostitution can be considered as a public order offence (Article 47, Act no. 200/1990) if the offender (i.e. prostitute) causes public annoyance(24). Engaging in prostitution at a public venue may also be punished under the offence of “rioting” (Article 202, Criminal Code), as the offender is committing “a rude indecency” in a place open to the public(25