New Crime Decree in Fiji makes both Prostitutes and Clients Liable
Fiji’s new Crime Decree will be harsher on prostitution, penalizing not only those who make a living off prostitution but also those involved in prostitution-related activities.
According to Fiji Times Online, under Fiji’s new Crime Decree, those who make a living off prostitution are liable for a jail term of six months while people caught hiring prostitutes can get jail terms of up to 12 years.
In addition, anybody found operating a brothel, or services which procure prostitution are liable for prosecution with the penalties being harsher when the crime involves people under the age of 18.
Also, anyone residing with a prostitute is also liable.
However, according to the report, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre says bringing in tougher laws will help ease the problem of prostitution but will never eradicate it.
According to the report, the Centre’s coordinator, Shamima Ali, says that even if the new laws with its harsher penalties take away the sex workers from the streets, “there is a very high chance that prostitution will go underground”.
She said the level of poverty in some areas was extreme, and the Centre was aware of cases where wives took up prostitution in order to take some money home.
“The men usually stay at home waiting for their grog and cigarette money, and the women provide for the whole family including sending the children to school,” she said.
The new Crime Decree comes into effect in February.