Ban Or Legalize Prostitution In Kyrgyzstan

It was midnight and I was coming back from the party, the celebration of my sister's birthday. I needed to buy some water. Asked the taxi driver to stop on the crossing of Sovietskaya and Toktogula street. What I saw absolutely shocked me.

I never witnessed it from such a close distance. A bunch of extremely young girls in revealing, short dresses and excessive make-up gathered in front of an internet cafe "Alfa" and were having vulgar chats and selling themselves in the sex trade.

The whole situation reminded me of one young girl who once came from a small and remote village to the capital in the search of a better life. She was so young and unexperienced in life that she did not notice that one day the profession she had was the 'oldest profession' as it has been dubbed.

But she never considered herself as a prostitute, or a sex-worker. She said it perfectly suits her as she likes her way of life. Her parents have no suspicion about their daughter's way of earning money.

They were quite sure she goes to university and does a part-time job in a small cafe nearby the relative's house where she temporarily resided. This is not a sole example; there are hundreds of cases of girls with similar fate.

There are several spots where the ladies of the night gather to offer themselves. One of them is right in the corner of Sovietskaya and Toktogula streets. Before it used to be just the corner, now the commerce extends down to Tynystanova street as well.

As I live nearby, sometimes I hear their loud voices and cars during the night. The other one is in front of ZAGS, the central marriage registration institute. Poor brides and grooms, as this is the scene they view on the first day of their marriage.

Recently, Bishkek militia forces displayed a haunt for sexual services in Bishkek. There are many such places where illegal prostitution prospers, and it has become a way of business which has lasted for many years.

Some even spread this business in the porches of private homes and have clients who know their address and telephone numbers make 'in calls'. There is much less exploitation by the militia at the private residences, because the militia usually cannot muscle their way in as easily as they can with freelance girls on the street. If they close one place, another two or three will be opened soon and resolving the problems has proved challenging.

Some make an argument for legalizing the prostitution, even though it goes against Islamic rules and eastern mentality. With legalization, they believe, the rights of sex-workers will be protected; they will go through regular medical checks and receive any essential treatment in case they become ill. It would also protect them from physical violence and mistreatment both from those who use their services and militia that exploits them as well. It is said that militia workers use the services for free any time they want and can also act as pimps taking cuts of the women's earnings.

Others believe that legalizing is not right, what we need to do is to fight against prostitution. However, fighting prostitution cannot be done through the militia, who are already exploiting the women sexually and making money from the trade. So, how do we really fight it? Or do we indeed have to fight it?

Prostitution remains illegal throughout much of Asia, but at the same time seems to flourish as a blackmarket trade.


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