Prostitution is often called the oldest job in history. While that seems like a less-than-realistic claim, it doesn’t change the fact that the sale and purchase of sex has been around for millennia and will likely continue despite the various efforts to ban it. However, that hasn’t stopped some from trying. Take, for example, a Russian politician who recently suggested that people caught with prostitutes ought to face a fine and prison term–unless they agree to marry the sex worker!
Prostitution is somewhat illegal in Russia at the moment. The Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation stipulates that engaging in prostitution carries a fine of between 1,500 and 2,000 rubles, or between about US$34 and $46. And if you’re profiting off the sex work of others–in other words, a pimp, but not in the hip-hop way–the fine is a single step up to between 2,000 and 2,500 rubles, or between $46 and $57, and a possible arrest of ten to fifteen days.
▼Legal code: More fun than a barrel of laughing monkeys!
Currently, the fines are only levied on those providing sexual services–not on the “clients,” as it were. However, one Russian politician named Olga Galkina recently proposed a new bill that would also punish the purchasers as well with fines between 50,000 and 100,000 rubles (between roughly $1,155 and $2,300) and imprisonment of between 10 and 15 days. Olga did include one “get out of jail free” option though–violators could elect to marry the prostitute instead.
As you might have imagined, Japanese Internet commenters had a lot to say:
“What an inspired idea!”
“Finally, you guys [other commenters] will have a chance at marital bliss!”
“Yes! Please do this in Japan too!”
“Wait–do the prostitutes have any rights for choosing whether or not they marry the guys??”
“Wouldn’t that be more a reward?”
“Wow! Seriously, can someone tell me how much it would cost to ship myself to Russia?”
“Why is this a punishment? It’s my dream!”
“Isn’t this more of a punishment against the prostitutes?”
“This is a human rights violation for sex workers!”
“Hey, this might solve the declining birth rate problem! Pay attention to this, you worthless Japanese politicians!”
“If this happened in Japan, all the guys would be clapping and cheering. Marrying a pretty sex worker would be like a dream.”
“This politician is a woman, right? What the hell is she thinking?”
Actually, she’s thinking this is a terrible idea: The bill proposed by Olga is almost certainly unlikely to pass–which was apparently her intention. As the politician explained in an interview, she’s actually for the legalization for prostitution and merely proposed the bill get people talking about the issue.
▼An old brothel in Moscow. Would anyone ever guess that?
In fact, Olga emphasized that this proposal was in response to efforts of another, anti-gay, fundamentalist Christian politician who was trying to enact stricter punishments for prostitution. (If he’s anything like US politicians, someone should probably check to see who this guy has been spending his nights with.) In reality, it seems that Olga wants the legislature to take a note from other countries like Norway where clients are also expected to bear responsibility.
While the proposed law is as absurd as it sounds, it does help underscore the very one-sided punishments imposed under Russian law–and we’re sure there are similar scenarios in other countries as well. Regardless of what you think about the actual practice itself, we think anyone would agree that if there are going to be any punishments, they should be applied equally! But at least there doesn’t seem to be anyone trying to stop Russians from dancing all night.