International Timeline

Continued

1985

 

Thailand

 

Soon Pitak Sitti Ying Bori Karn ( the Centre for the Protection of Rights of Women in the Entertainment Industry) is founded in Thailand and campaigns for sex worker rights and the decriminalisation of prostitution.

 

1986

 

Netherlands

 

Residents in Utrecht’s red light district protest against prostitution by blockading streets, provoking a national debate.  Two years later the local council establishes Holland’s first tolerance zone in an industrial estate on the outskirts of the city.

 

1988

 

USA

 

Coalition Against Trafficking Women (CATW) is formed; it is the first contemporary coalition to take an uncompromising abolitionist position, and targets much of its work questioning the demand side of the sex industry.

 

1989

 

Europe

 

The fall of the Berlin Wall heralds a transition process for Communist regimes across Europe.  It has especially negative impacts on women’s position and employment.  This coupled with notions of western sexual freedom/liberation fuel the sex industries across CEE.

 

‘If she was your sister or daughter, how much would you pay?’ said a leaflet from Lithuania.

 

1990

 

Europe

 

End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT) is founded.  It promotes extra-territorial reach for laws on child abuse, and in 1993 Germany is one of the first countries to make it possible for citizens to be prosecuted for crimes committed in other countries.

 

1995

 

Australia

 

The State of Victoria licences brothels and escort agencies.  By 2006, 87 legal brothels operate in Melbourne, the state capital.

 

1999

 

Sweden

 

Becomes the first country to decriminalise selling and criminalise buying sex.  Seen as part of policies on gender equality, the intent is less to claim large numbers of prosecutions and more to create normative change, so that prostitution becomes unacceptable.  In 2002 more than 3 in 4 Swedes support the reform.

 

2000

 

Netherlands

 

Brothels are legalised through licensing systems operated by local authorities.  As of October 2004, 2000 licences had been issued.

 

International

 

The United Nations adopts a Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children.  The definition of trafficking includes deception and does not require transportation over international borders.

 

2001

 

Germany

 

Prostitution is legalised, anyone registered must undergo mandatory health checks.

 

2002

 

International

 

The United Nations Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography comes into force.

 

2003

 

New Zealand

 

Prostitution is decriminalised.  Indoor venues (brothels, massage parlours, escort agencies) should be licensed and it is no longer illegal to live off the earnings of prostitution.  The new legislation only applies to citizens.

 

Denmark

 

The Federation of Trade Unions resolves to prohibit its representatives from buying sex at home or abroad whilst on union business.

 

2004

 

South Korea

 

Anti-prostitution legislation imposes tough penalties on brothel owners and clients.  In Pyongtaek, prostitutes stage a rally in opposition.

 

International

 

The first International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers is marked by demonstrations and protests in Cambodia, Canada, England, South Africa and the USA.

 

2005

 

USA

 

Military personnel are banned from ‘patronising a prostitute’, and face possible court martial if they break the rule.

 

Two federal judges rule the Bush administration’s policy of requiring groups to denounce prostitution as a condition for receiving funds for international AIDS work unconstitutional.

 

2006

 

Netherlands

 

The Brotherly Love, Freedom and Diversity party is founded in the Netherlands.  It campaigns to lower the age of consent from 16 to 12 and to legalise child pornography.  In July the Dutch Court ruled that it has the right to stand for national elections.

 

 

 

 

2006 – 2011 to be updated.

 

 

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