November 18th, 2011
06:22 AM GMT
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Hong Kong (CNN) - In Taiwan, legislation is moving towards legalizing the world’s oldest profession, but in practice the trade remains largely underground.

Under the revised Social Order Maintenance Act, which went into effect in early November, prostitution is legal in designated red-light districts, but so far no local governments have been willing to create these zones, rendering prostitution anywhere illegal.

“You [the government] tell us that both the sex worker and the client would not be penalized within the district, but where is it?” Chung Chun-chu, secretary general of the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters told the Taipei Times. “So far, none of the local governments have any plans to create red-light districts.”

All 22 county and city mayors have expressed concern that creating prostitution districts would lead to increased crime and plummeting property values, according to an Apple Daily survey.

“We will not consider opening a sex trade zone because there is no public consensus on this highly controversial issue,” Edward Zhang, spokesman for the Taipei City Government, told the Taipei Times.

The new amendment also overturns Article 80 of the act which criminalized prostitutes but not their clients based on its unconstitutionality.

Now, both sex workers and their customers could be fined up to NT$30,000 ($994) for engaging in prostitution outside of these designated areas. Brothel owners operating outside the red-light districts would also face fines of up to NT$50,000 ($1,655).

This law is aimed at protecting women in the sex trade, but Mei Hsiang, a prostitute working in Taipei is worried it will affect her ability to make a living.

“Punishing the clients is worse than punishing us because the clients will not come for fear of being caught and fined and we won’t be able to make a living,” she told the Taipei Times.

Some argued that Taiwan should follow the Swedish approach to prostitution regulation. In Sweden, paying for sex is illegal, but selling it is not, meaning clients are prosecuted while prostitutes are not. Jiang Yi-huah, Minister of the Interior, argued that this sort of legislation may be unconstitutional.

But Huang Sue-ying, a member of the minority Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) questioned this claim, saying “equality means equality in essence and not equality in form. Women are at a more disadvantaged position than men, who are not prosecuted. Men have to pay for the social costs they cause.”

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Filed under: BusinessGlobal Exchange

soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. co

    At least post a picture from Taiwan instead Hong Kong / China.

    November 18, 2011 at 7:38 am |
  2. JCC

    Who said the pic was from Hong Kong/China? Looks like Taiwan to me!

    November 18, 2011 at 8:16 am |
  3. Desjardins

    And why this ad is under the classification of top business news ??

    November 18, 2011 at 8:27 am |
  4. Darkula

    Its legal in New Zealand, they dont pay tax unless they work in a brothel. But it makes sense, its going to happen anyway so why not protect the people who are involved, give them a safe environment to work in and get them away from the people who would abuse and exploit them... and into the arms of people who would be less exploitative but still horrible human beings in their own right :)

    November 18, 2011 at 8:47 am |
  5. Syam

    Hates this world

    November 18, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  6. yogesh kumar

    Hi my name is yogesh kumar. I like this blog website. I say thanks to that person who made this

    November 18, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  7. Mac

    We all pay for it, one way or another.

    November 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
  8. Alex

    Why not US is doing it! where us goes china, taiwan follows.

    November 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
  9. Furious Styles

    No thanks Taiwan, I'll pass.

    November 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  10. Duane

    It is legal in most of Nevada and the country didn't fall apart. Seems to me you can legalize this and not have it become an issue.

    November 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  11. informed

    There is one reason and one reason only that there is no red light district being created. OC

    November 18, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  12. Jim456

    To legalize it is a good thing. In this way you can control it in any aspect. It is the oldest profession in the world and no law can really ban it.

    November 18, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  13. Bob Hitler

    This country ought to legalize drugs, gambling, and hooking. It would reduce our prison population by 50%, and would restore more freedom in this country. The money saved could be used for drug prevention programs.

    November 19, 2011 at 3:35 am |
  14. Trouble

    yes yes yes,,,, for the love of god,, two adults having fun!!!!!!! Im sick off going for dinner,, meeting people i dont like,, dealing with a ton of crap,,, heres $200 lets party!!!!!! its illegal cause prune know they wont have us by the nads no more!! yes,, yes ,,yes

    November 19, 2011 at 3:42 am |
  15. db

    Anytime one person in a relationship treats another to something and coitus soon follows, it should be illegal. So if you treat your wife to dinner and she manipulates your genitalia in any way that results in ejaculation, I say both of you should go to jail. Lock up the world. I'm tired of it!

    November 19, 2011 at 4:00 am |
  16. Bonedoner

    Oh, come on. Those women should starve to death before the are allowed to sell their pie. What next, individual freedoms, yeah right.

    November 19, 2011 at 4:09 am |
  17. Dirk Diggler

    This will be good for Taiwan economy and bring in more tourists from all over the world. More tax revenue for the city of Taipei means better schools, libraries, infrastructure etc...

    November 19, 2011 at 4:33 am |
  18. Kevin O.

    See now all you OWS can go to Taiwan and pay for your college. Isn't that wonderful?

    November 19, 2011 at 4:35 am |
  19. Brian

    Which sorority do these girls belong to?

    November 19, 2011 at 4:41 am |
  20. Beaver Cleaver


    November 19, 2011 at 4:46 am |
  21. Beaver Cleaver


    November 19, 2011 at 4:47 am |
  22. Adnan

    Seems they're trying to bring in some foreign exchange.

    November 19, 2011 at 5:14 am |
  23. K2

    Harm reduction has always shown better results than prosecutions. Good job Taiwan.

    November 19, 2011 at 5:39 am |
  24. boing


    November 19, 2011 at 6:07 am |
  25. Nope

    It's going to increase human trafficking from SE Asia and the Pacific Islands.

    November 19, 2011 at 6:42 am |

    Just found a way to pay off my college loans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 19, 2011 at 7:35 am |
  27. Pu-pu

    In Taiwan pretty girl, yes? Take wife, yes?

    November 19, 2011 at 7:36 am |
  28. tomatoleaf

    To legalize this profession goes against chinese traditional values.what 's more,it will reduce local government 's responsibility for improving education and increasing normal work opportunities.

    November 19, 2011 at 7:38 am |
  29. crazyfoe

    Realistically thinking what would be the method of control over this so called 'business'?.... Why don't they just legalize everything and enjoy the chaos..

    November 19, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  30. May

    Taiwan is one part of China!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Please called it“Taiwan,China”!!!!!!!!!!!Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 19, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  31. rmtaks

    How come when Beijing passes a law no one in Taiwan has to obey it? Also do you live in Taiwan? Because everyone in Taiwan I've talked to seems to think it is NOT part of China, and since it is their home I think they get more say in it than a mainlander who doesn't live there.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  32. rmtaks

    But don't worry overzealous mainland Chinese patriots who like to overreach, you'll get your wish. Taiwan will be part of China. Not because it will be invaded, but because it is being bought. The KMT, which is the party in power right now, are much like the GOP in that they are complete sellouts who only care about the rich people they pander to. On top of being business owners, the rich have bought up all the real estate because, much like in HK, they expect it to skyrocket when rich mainland Chinese are aloud to come over (and by doing so have already made the prices rise so normal people can barely afford it). The rich in Taiwan have a lot invested in the relations tightening, if not all out reunification. Much like the US, the middle class and poor are too distracted by products and pop idols to do anything about it.

    November 19, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  33. Thatsgrtnews

    How much it cost to go to Taiwan?

    November 19, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  34. Sense and Sensibility

    To prove my point, look at this link.
    That's how you turn the economy and society around, not by legalizing everything!

    Great points. I hope it doesn't happen, but it seems inevitable in a sense.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  35. Anthony Quatroni

    Finally, a country with common sense!

    November 19, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  36. rapidone

    The U.S. doesn't legalize it, Alex, because of the American Taliban–the extremist Christian right and their demagogues in the Tea Party and Republican Party, holding the reigns on their slaves be instilling fear and anger if this ever even came close to coming up.

    This would protect all the people in the industry, the regulation of health of the people in the country in general, and increase the ability to protect exploited victims–both willing and unwilling. Practical sense often doesn't win out in the country–and guess why?? Yep, the American Taliban controlling the brainwashed and pridefully ignorant.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  37. rmtaks

    Since my comment got filtered for no apparent reason even though the language was not vulgar and completely relevant to this subject I'll rewrite this like a 5 year old since we can't speak like adults on here:

    There are already well-known no-no districts where there are obvious happy-houses everywhere who just give bribes whenever the police give them trouble. The letter of the law and the reality are two different things, and legalizing happy time would not change anything except how much money the happy-houses have to give to the police.

    @Sense and Sensibility: China has already supplanted the US as Taiwan's biggest trade partner and political influence. It's much easier just to keep the people (who matter) fat and happy than to go rip-roaring through and destroy everything you mean to own (along with all the other consequences). Half the time when you "pick your country" for US products/services Taiwan doesn't even show up as an option (like the other day when I was trying to look something up on Google trends). The snares have already been planned, set, and triggered, now it's just a wait for them to tighten.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  38. tap-it

    As long as I can continue to hit it bareback then that is okay with me.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  39. rmtaks

    Depends on what deal you get, but generally $1000 at the lowest. Many times the cost to fly to Vegas. Taiwan is a first-world country, so if you think you are going to get "service" for $20 when you get there you have your Asian countries confused. I really don't know why anyone would go there for ***ual tourism just because it has red-light districts like every country with major cities.

    November 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  40. Jim

    Guys in America pay for it one way or another!

    November 19, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  41. Kirk

    I see nothing wrong with this.

    November 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  42. Franky

    Man, I need to learn how to spell, two, and consensually before anyone gripes!

    November 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  43. someone

    If managed right, set up in a clean manner, and operated in a decent area, then I'm all for it. I would probably never use one of these services, but I don't think it's good to deny others. It could be a big aid to the economy by recirculating wealth (if it were done in the states). Finally something to boost the GDP! After all, it's not like we'd have to import women interested. And just think of all the viagra and other products that would boost its sales.

    I think Taiwan is on an interesting path forward. Hopefully it is successful so it can interest other countries. After all, you can't find jobs for rising populations when there aren't any, so might as well offer the one thing that still sells.

    November 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  44. Guest

    Its about time we stop criminalizing victimless behavior. Regulation is fine, but what consenting adults want to do with their own bodies is their own business.

    November 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  45. Joshi Banks

    "I've talked to seems to think it is NOT part of China" – You mean not a part of the PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF China.
    It can be outside of the PRC, but in China. Their government is called the REPUBLIC OF China

    November 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  46. Cory

    In response to the comment about the OWS, I did indeed go to Taiwan for my college. Let me say it was free and a good education. Perhaps you should go to, and learn some morals and proper behaviour.

    November 19, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  47. rmtaks

    They are called Republic of China because the KMT was the former government of China proper before the PRC drove them out and Chiang Kaishek still had delusions that he would one day go reclaim the mainland. Taiwan has been in and out of Chinese control through history and had only light governance during the former; not exactly what you'd call historically core Chinese territory. The ROC is no more "China" than the PRC is a republic.

    November 19, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  48. rmtaks

    Not to mention the public healthcare. In Taipei healthcare cost me about 1/10 what things do hear. Before you say "everything is cheaper there" or "I bet the quality was bad": Incomes were about 1/2 as much as where I was from in the US. So if you apply that, things would still be 1/5 as expensive. Most of the doctors got their education in the US. Things moved faster, not slower, because they would take care the problem immediately instead of diagnosing it then making you come back for a second appointment to drag it out and extract more money. Also, the doctors make lots of money and live in nice houses. They just live in one nice house instead of 4.

    November 19, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  49. Bill

    Yet another "backwards" government granting greater Liberty and Freedom while the United States, "beacon of liberty", uses religion to oppress and restrict.

    If I pay some woman to blow me, I'm an evil exploiter of women that should be locked up.
    If I pay some woman to blow me, record it, and sell/show said video to the world, I'm an entrepreneur.

    Yay religion dominated "free" societies.

    Best thing China ever did: give the finger to religion.

    November 19, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  50. Lenny

    To the wingnuts arguing about where the picture was taken–it could have been in a basement in Manhattan as easily as Taiwan or China. I've seen some pretty ridiculous arguments, but this one takes the cake! (pun intended)

    November 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  51. wei

    Now I wish the same in PRC too!!!

    November 19, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  52. whosurdaddy

    Look like women in Taiwan will have full employment good for them!

    November 20, 2011 at 2:42 am |
  53. bhead

    cool, i can cut off my schlong and get a job in taiwan now

    November 20, 2011 at 3:32 am |
  54. Skeptic

    What they should do is to make it legal anywhere except when within 1000 feet of schools or churches. They do want to keep priests on good behavior.

    November 20, 2011 at 5:22 am |
  55. farmer

    farming IS the oldest job

    November 20, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  56. mr774

    Btw, to all.
    Do you know SOAP LAND?

    November 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
  57. Larry29

    Ya hear that bill clinton?....Pack your bags .....No, No! not that bag....leave her behind.

    November 20, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  58. Larry29

    Yup, we remember slick willy alright < he was the one who got caught with his gland in the nookie jar.

    November 20, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  59. Larry29

    The current government is doing the same thing, only we are getting screwed and paying THEM for it.

    November 20, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  60. todd

    Larry thats funny stuff.

    November 21, 2011 at 4:21 am |
  61. todd

    When i was in hong kong a few years back.I saw the most beatifull girl from thaiwan.

    November 21, 2011 at 4:24 am |
  62. LionOfNarnia

    They look happier than the average Chinese person.

    November 21, 2011 at 6:30 am |
  63. LionOfNarnia

    Jim loves America.

    November 21, 2011 at 6:30 am |
  64. SS2

    SS2@lionofnarnia, the reincarnation of showelingsnw. You will be surprised that the Chinese is a lot more happier than the average american. Look at the disenchanted americans protesting and demonstratuing at the Occupy Wall Street, which have spread nationwide in america.. GOD bless, China and the Chinese are spared from this or any Spring movement. This has shown that the Chinese is a lot more happier than the average american. Thank you JESUS.

    November 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
  65. mrlgh

    mmmmmm...sweeet, sweeeet, asian girls...mmmmmmmmmm

    November 21, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  66. LionOfNarnia

    Lol, we are complaining of lost jobs. You are complaining of, no humanity. Sad. No comparison but sad that you tried.

    November 21, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  67. LionOfNarnia

    Just a friendly reminder SS2. This is an American website. You have no "beachhead" here. You've not established a foothold in Western media. Your presence here is merely a product of our freedoms. You are at the mercy of American school children calling you names. there isn't a thing you can do about it. China's attempt to infiltrate western media and post pro CCP comments as failed. Its continued presence here just serves as an embarrassment.

    November 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  68. LionOfNarnia

    I would advise the CCP to put their resources somewhere else. You can never brainwash people that are smarter than you.

    November 21, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  69. That'snotTrue:[

    @ LionOfNarnia
    Your comments on anything related to China is no more than a troll's. You say other commentor's views are bias, yet you want other people to accept your racist ideology. I've seen your comments.
    * They are rude
    * They are racist
    * They overgeneralize
    * This misrepresent the American people, your ideals only represent 0.0000000001% of America, you!
    &&& Your comments here show what limited intelligence you have, not everything about China is related to the CPP.
    I could make the same assumptions, all Americans benefit from Wall Street (An example), therefore they are all corrupted crooks, so I conclude that LionofNarnia must be one.
    The only one trying to brainwash anyone here is you. Did shovelingsnw's account finally got banned, this is your new one. Wouldn't be surprised, haven't seen him on the forums lately.

    November 21, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
  70. Waheed

    how much it will cost if you stay for a night in redlight distrect

    November 22, 2011 at 5:10 am |
  71. Aaron

    At least now they can regulate STD's for them and have real cops protect them. Nobody should ever be a victim of violent crime. And maybe use the taxes collected for something good.

    November 23, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  72. Aaron

    Thatsnottrue is correct, a very small fraction of Americans are racists, and they mostly live in the South in the woods and wave Confederate flags.

    November 23, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  73. jeffyisme

    Actually you can't "stay for a night" in redlight area. You pay $100 USD for 1~2 hours of "service", and that's it.

    November 25, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  74. Old Pogi

    It's great they have a law allowing it. Now just follow through with it. The profession is everywhere, in every country and always will be. Why turn innocent people into criminals?

    November 30, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
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  76. Claudete

    before, there will be lots of free concerts on New Year's eve- aslomt every city/county will host one. Taipei city will definitely hold one, but I'm not sure where it'll be at. Just ask around, or read the newspapers which will usually mention the various lineups and locations. A good English newspaper in Taiwan is the Taipei Times.And I'm pretty sure that you can go from the MRT near Ximenting and get close to Taipei 101. Once you get to the MRT station closest to Taipei 101, there will usually be free shuttle buses going to Taipei 101. However since aslomt everyone will be out on the streets on New Year's I'm not sure how quick you'll be able to get there. But at least the MRT will be open the entire night.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:01 am |
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