Florence clamps down on prostitution

Imprisonment and fines of up to 206 euro

Editorial Staff
September 17, 2017 - 19:29

It might be legal in Italy, but Florence has outlawed street prostitution within its city limits.


Turning a blind eye to street prostitution, the country has prohibited brothels, pimping and prostitution rings since 1958, when the Merlin law came into effect, named after the socialist politician who proposed it, Linda Merlin. In 2008, the Italian government approved a law proposal to forbid street prostitution, but the proposal has never been converted into law, which means that street prostitution is still legal and common in Italy.


On September 14, 2017, Florence Mayor Dario Nardella signed a directive against prostitution in Florence, which entered into force the following day. On signing the ordinance, Nardella commented, “Our society cannot remain blind when faced with a phenomenon that destroys the dignity of women reduced to slavery … It is my hope that Florence will prove a good example for the whole of Italy.”


Those found to be in breach of the order, which states a clampdown on “asking for or accepting sexual services upon payment”, will face fines of up to 206 euro or up to three months’ imprisonment. Only those caught asking for sex will face consequences; prostitutes will be neither fined nor jailed.


The move is the result of recent discussions among city police, magistrates and the administration, and was made possible by the Minniti decree, which became law in April, enabling mayors to issue a directive against those asking for paid sex.

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