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Protest sparked by fines in Padua
(issue no. 57/2007 / May 31, 2007)

Prostitutes from all over Italy flocked to the northern Italian city of Padua recently to march in protest against a city ordinance that fines clients. Police records show that since Padua’s ordinance come into effect, the number of streetwalkers there has fallen by almost 80 percent.

 

In response to the crackdown meant to curb the sex industry, hookers in Padua began offering their services free of charge to clients who had been caught and slapped with the 50-euro fine. Wearing pink badges, prostitutes alerted prospective clients that they would be ‘reimbursed’.

 

Those who organized the demonstration stressed that they were marching to support their clients’ rights and to underscore the ‘social function’ that sex workers play in society.

 

The streetwalker dele-gation was unable to meet with Padua mayor Flavio Zanonato, but the protest nonetheless attracted national and international attention—but perhaps not to the effect that they might have wanted.

 

Interior minister Giuliano Amato would now like to move the nation in the direction Padua has charted. Amato believes that a law banning the sale of sex is needed, and this approach might effectively target the demand, instead of the supply, in the sex trade. Currently, only the exploitation of prostitution, or ‘pimping’, is illegal in Italy.

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