Rome mayor 'in favour' of red-light districts

Street prostitutes create 'malaise', Marino says

(ANSA) - Rome, May 22 - Rome's centre-left mayor Ignazio Marino said Thursday he was in favour of creating red-light districts in the capital.
    "Unfortunately it is not a decision that can be taken by the mayor," said Marino, a medical doctor, former Senator and member of the Democratic Party (PD) of Premier Matteo Renzi. "However I would be in favour of creating areas where prostitution is allowed and areas where it is forbidden," continued the mayor. "The pervasion of prostitution not only damages urban decorum, but it creates situations of serious malaise in some neighbourhoods," Marino said. Brothels and red-light districts existed in Italy until 1959 when they were outlawed under the so-called Merlin law, which is still in force today.
    The law aimed to give more rights to individual prostitutes but instead forced women - and, increasingly, transexuals - onto the streets, where they can be seen waiting for clients along major roads leading into big towns or cities and sometimes also along quiet country lanes. Up to 70,000 women and transexuals are currently thought to work in prostitution in Italy including many foreigners as a result of migration.
    Many have been sold into prostitution by human traffickers and are forced to work the streets at the mercy of their pimps.


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