Prostitution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Prostitution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is illegal but the government does little to enforce the law. The Congolese penal code punishes pimping, running a bawdy house or brothel, the exploitation of debauchery or prostitution, as well as forced prostitution. Activities that incite minors or promote the prostitution of others have been criminalised. During the colonial era and the years that followed independence, the Ministry of Health issued calling cards identifying professional sex workers and provided them with medical health checks. However, this system was abandoned in the 1980s. Food insecurity and extreme poverty are now the main reasons why women in the country become prostitutes. Traders make up the majority of clients, along with officials working for national and international NGOs. Many sex workers earn between $2 and $5 and payment is sometimes made in the form of food or other goods. Prostitutes working in nightclubs receive between $10 and $20. "VIP prostitution" operates from hotels, with sex workers earning between $50 and $100. Many Congolese prostitutes are from abroad or homeless children who have been accused of witchcraft.
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