Prostitution in Asia
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The legality of prostitution in Asia varies by country. In Asia, the main characteristic of the region is the very big discrepancy between the laws which exist on the books and what occurs in practice. For example, in Thailand prostitution is illegal, but in practice it is tolerated and regulated, and the country is a destination for sex tourism.
Child prostitution is a serious problem in this region. Past surveys indicate that 30 to 35 percent of all prostitutes in the Mekong sub-region of Southeast Asia are between 12 and 17 years of age.
This page uses the UN system of subregions.
|Country or territory||Prostitution||Legal age for solicitation||Brothels||Pimping||Notes|
|Afghanistan||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal||Prostitution is a thriving industry in Afghanistan. However, areas controlled by the Taliban strictly prohibit prostitution.|
|Bahrain||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal||Although illegal, prostitution remains a problem; many across the Middle East go to Bahrain for prostitution due to its lax feel towards it.|
|Bangladesh||Illegal||Not allowed||Legal||Legal||Even before prostitution was legalized, child prostitution was and still is a major problem.|
|British Indian Ocean Territory||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal|
|Cambodia||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal||Because the Thai government has begun to crack down on child sex tourism, child prostitution has become increasingly popular in Cambodia, due to lax opposition towards it, and cheaper prices.|
|China||Illegal nationwide; erotic massages are legal in the city of Foshan||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal||Prostitution is believed to be a major problem in China, due to corruption and organized crime. Many foreign prostitutes are trafficked into China from Russia, North Korea, Kenya, and Angola.|
|India||Legal; prostitution isn't a criminal offense, but prostitution in a public place or a hotel is illegal||Age uncertain, not allowed in public||Illegal||Illegal|
|Indonesia||Legal||No legally defined age||Legal||Legal||While considered a crime against decency and morality, there is no government law against it. Due to lax laws on age, Indonesia has become a popular place for child prostitution, and government action against it is nearly non-existent.|
|Japan||Coital sex acts are illegal; other sexual acts are legal||Illegal for intercourse; 18 for other acts||Illegal||Illegal|
|Macau||Legal||18||Illegal||Illegal||Human Trafficking is a major problem, many foreign prostitutes are trafficked from Mongolia, Russia, Thailand, and Central Asia.|
|Malaysia||Illegal, but often unenforced||Not allowed, but often unenfroced||Illegal, but often unforced||Illegal, but often unenforced|
|Mongolia||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal||Prostitution is a major problem, most foreigners trafficked into Mongolia are from China.|
|Myanmar||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal||Due to widespread poverty, many are trafficked into neighboring countries, Malaysia, and South Korea for prostitution.|
|North Korea||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal||The government doesn't openly support prostitution, known in North Korea as kippumjo. Prostitution is a major problem due to corruption and poverty.|
|Pakistan||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal||Prostitution is a common practice in Pakistan, although not in public.|
|Philippines||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal||Prostitution is a major problem despite strict laws against it.|
|Saudi Arabia||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal||Death is often the punishment of being involved in prostitution|
|Singapore||Legal||16, public solicitation isn't allowed||Illegal||Illegal|
|South Korea||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal||Despite strict government action, prostitution remains common across South Korea.|
|Sri Lanka||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal|
|Tajikistan||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal||Prostitution remains a major problem due to widespread poverty|
|Thailand||Illegal, but tolerated and regulated||Not allowed in practice||Existent and partially regulated||Illegal|
|Turkey||Legal||18||Legal, all brothels are government owned||Illegal|
|United Arab Emirates||Illegal||Not allowed||Illegal||Illegal|
|Country/Territory||Prostitution||Legal Age for solicitation||Brothels||Pimping||Notes|
- Prostitution in Kyrgyzstan
- Prostitution in Tajikistan
- Prostitution in Turkmenistan
- Prostitution in Uzbekistan
In Kazakhstan prostitution itself is legal, but acts facilitating prostitution, such as operating a brothel or prostitution ring, are illegal. Forced prostitution and prostitution connected to organized crime are prohibited. Prostitution is a serious problem. NGOs reported that criminal prostitution rings often included local law enforcement officials.
- Prostitution in China
- Prostitution in Taiwan
- Prostitution in Hong Kong
- Prostitution in Japan
- Prostitution in Mongolia
- Prostitution in North Korea
- Prostitution in South Korea
- Prostitution in Afghanistan
- Prostitution in Bangladesh
- Prostitution in Bhutan
- Prostitution in India
- Prostitution in the Maldives
- Prostitution in Nepal
- Prostitution in Pakistan
- Prostitution in Sri Lanka
- Prostitution in Brunei
- Prostitution in Cambodia
- Prostitution in Indonesia
- Prostitution in Laos
- Prostitution in Malaysia
- Prostitution in Myanmar
- Prostitution in the Philippines
- Prostitution in Singapore
- Prostitution in Thailand
- Prostitution in Timor-Leste
- Prostitution in Vietnam
In Armenia, prostitution itself is not regulated by legislation, thus, is not illegal; procuring is forbidden. Operating a brothel and engaging in other forms of pimping are crimes punishable by one to 10 years' imprisonment.
Prostitution in Azerbaijan is illegal. Operating a brothel and engaging in other forms of pimping are crimes punishable imprisonment, while prostitution is punishable with a fine.
The law does not prohibit prostitution itself, but operating brothels, organizing prostitution rings, living off the profits of prostitution, encouraging prostitution or forcing a person to engage in prostitution are illegal activities. The law regulating the hiring of women at nightclubs and cabarets provides penalties for women and employers who "partially or completely earn a living from prostitution." In July 2006 the Nicosia District Court ordered the first prostitution-related imprisonment in the area administered by Turkish Cypriots. After pleading no contest to the charges, the manager of Mexico nightclub, Mesut Kilicarslan, was sentenced to 15 days in prison for encouraging and profiting from prostitution. By year's end three more suspects were sentenced to imprisonment for encouraging and profiting from prostitution.
Cyprus has been criticized by the US State Department  for failing to control the flow of illegal immigrants and legal to be involved in forced prostitution. Cyprus has gained a reputation for being a major transit point for people smugglers to transport women for the purposes of prostitution. International observers have criticized the government for its lack of action to prevent forced prostitution. The law of Cyprus forbids forced (but not voluntary) prostitution. However, it is believed that many immigrants are hired as bar maids and coerced into prostitution by this method.
In Georgia, prostitution is illegal but widespread, particularly in Tbilisi. Many NGO's attribute this to the harsh economic conditions according to the US State Department. Many women from Georgia are of Human Trafficking operations to or from countries. Women who are forced to be prostitutes are in Georgia are often from Asia and neighboring European countries.
In 2006 the country incorporated into its domestic law the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The punishment for human trafficking in Georgia is 15 years. There is also a special law to protect families of Georgian women who fear reprisals from gang masters of women who refuse to be forced into prostitution abroad.
- Prostitution in Kuwait
- Prostitution in Lebanon
- Prostitution in Oman
- Prostitution in the Palestinian territories
- Prostitution in Qatar
- Prostitution in Saudi Arabia
- Prostitution in Syria
In Turkey, prostitution is legal and regulated. Prostitutes must register and acquire an ID card stating the dates of their health checks. Also it is mandatory for registered prostitutes to have regular health checks for sexually transmitted diseases. The police are allowed to check the authenticity of registered prostitutes to determine whether they have been examined properly and to ensure they see the health authorities if they don't. Men cannot register under this regulation. Most sex workers, however, are unregistered, as local governments have made it policy not to issue new registrations. As a result, most sex workers in Turkey are not registered sex workers, working in violation of the law. Turkey is listed by the UNODC as a top destination for victims of human trafficking.
See also Prostitution in Europe
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- Sexual Offences Laws - Georgia[dead link]
- "The Jordanian desert's other delight: sex tourism". Global Post. Retrieved 2012-04-11.
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- Turkey's sex trade entraps Slavic women - International Herald Tribune
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