Prostitution in Bhutan

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Prostitution in Bhutan is illegal[1] but in many of Bhutan's border towns there are people openly practicing in the sex trade.[2][3] Prostitution mainly occurs in bars, clubs & hotels.[2][3] Some of the sex workers are employed by bar and hotel owners to attract customers.[2] Prostitution also occurs in the capital, Thimphu.[4]

There are thought to be 400 - 500 sex workers in the country, many from poor backgrounds who enter prostitution for financial reasons.[5]

In 2017, the NGO Lhak-Sam proposed that sex work was legalised by the government, but the proposal was turned down.[4]

Sex trafficking is a problem in the country.[6]

Sex tourism[edit]

Bhutan is becoming a destination for sex tourism for people from the West and India.[7] Some high-end prostitutes are involved, tourists being more likely to be able to afford their fees.[7] Some of the tourists are looking for sex with boys and girls.Guides Association of Bhutan The Guides Association of Bhutan report some tourists are demand female 'guides' to accompany them during their stay in the country.Guides Association of Bhutan

Legislation[edit]

The Penal Code of Bhutan criminalises prostitution:[8]

CHAPTER 26 - PROSTITUTION AND RELATED OFFENCES

  • Prostitution
373. A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of prostitution, if the defendant offers, agrees to engage, or engages in sexual conduct with another person for money or property.
  • Grading of Prostitution
374. The offence of prostitution shall be a misdemeanour.
  • Promotion of prostitution
375. A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of promotion of prostitution, if the defendant:
(a) Owns, leases, controls, manages, supervises a brothel or otherwise keeps a prostitution business;
(b) Procures a person for a house of prostitution;
(c) Encourages, induces, or otherwise purposely causes another to become or remain as a prostitute;
(d) Solicits a person to patronise a prostitute;
(e) Procures a prostitute for a patron;
(f) Requires a prostitute to give a part or all of the money or property received as a result of the prostitution.
  • Grading of Promotion of prostitution
376. The offence of promotion of prostitution shall be:
(a) A misdemeanour;
(b) A felony of the fourth degree, if the person used for prostitution is a child of above 12 years and below 18 years; or
(c) A felony of the third degree, if the person used for prostitution is a child of 12 years and below.
  • Patronising a prostitute
377. A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of patronising a prostitute, if the defendant gives money, property, or other gratification to engage in sexual act.
  • Grading of Patronising a prostitute
378. The offence of patronising a prostitute shall be:
(a) A misdemeanour;
(b) A felony of the fourth degree, if the person used for prostitution is a child of above 12 years and below 18 years; or
(c) A felony of the third degree, if the person used for prosecution is a child of 12 years and below.
  • Trafficking a person for prostitution
379. A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of trafficking a person for prostitution, if the defendant transports, sells or buys a person into or outside of Bhutan with the purpose of engaging that person in prostitution.
  • Grading of trafficking a person for prostitution
380. The offence of trafficking a person for prostitution shall be a felony of the:
(a) Third degree;
(b) Second degree, if the person is a child of above 12 years and below 18 years;
(c) First degree, if the person is a child of 12 years and below.

Sex trafficking[edit]

Bhutan is a source and destination country for women and children vulnerable to sex trafficking. Bhutanese girls, working as domestic servants and entertainers in drayungs or karaoke bars, may be subjected to sex trafficking, coerced by debt and threats of physical abuse.[6]

The United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons ranks Bhutan as a 'Tier 2' country.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Legal Status of Prostitution by Country". ChartsBin. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c "Unbridled flesh trade in the border town". Bhutan Times. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  3. ^ a b "Sex, sleaze and the city". Bhutan Observer. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  4. ^ a b Wangmo, Lucky (5 July 2017). "Govt shoots down proposal to legalize sex industry – Business Bhutan". Business Bhutan. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  5. ^ Pem, Damchoe (29 July 2017). "400 to 500 possible sex workers in Bhutan - The Bhutanese". The Bhutanese. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c "Bhutan 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report". U.S. Department of State.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ a b Dema, Kinga (12 December 2015). "Sex tourism, an emerging vulnerablity". Kuensel. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  8. ^ "Penal Code of Bhutan" (PDF). Royal Government of Bhutan. 2004. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 

External links[edit]