Last Updated: Friday, 27 May 2016, 08:49 GMT

Legalised Prostitution in Tajikistan?

Publisher Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Author Orzujon Bedimogov
Publication Date 9 August 2012
Cite as Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Legalised Prostitution in Tajikistan?, 9 August 2012, available at: [accessed 27 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Two different approaches to dealing with prostitution in southern Tajikistan reflect fundamental disagreements about how best to deal with the problem.

The department for women's affairs in the southern city of Qorghan Teppa has written to the Tajik parliament asking it to approve plans to set up a shelter where destitute women could live after being detained and charged with prostitution. The provincial government, meanwhile, has asked legislators to increase the penalties for engaging in the sex trade, so that it would count as a crime rather than just a petty offence.

The number of people detained in police raids in Qorghan Teppa suggests prostitution is growing at exponential rates.

Women's affairs departmental head Jonuna Kholboboeva says the women involved typically come to the city from rural areas, often after being widowed, or after their husbands throw them and their children out of the house.

Other experts agree that girls married off at around 15 and then abandoned are the most vulnerable group, with no education and few job prospects.

Some lawmakers in Tajikistan say legalising prostitution is the only way to stop organised crime reaping huge profits from it.

In this conservative Muslim society, however, many oppose the plan on moral grounds, saying it would encourage more women into the sex trade.

Copyright notice: © Institute for War & Peace Reporting

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