17 Feb 2010

Fiji police aim to help get prostitutes off streets

9:15 pm on 17 February 2010

The Fiji police say the force is is trying to help women involved in prostitution get off the streets and will do its best to ensure that.

A crimes decree brought into power this month has expanded police powers to not only prosecute sex workers, but also target the client and all those involved in making money from the transaction.

Women's groups have criticised the decree, saying it will move sex work underground and criminalise it further.

But a police spokesperson, Ema Dimila, says the changes will be of benefit for all.

"We are thankful that at least something is done on that angle because it's not only injust that only the sex workers are taken in, but those that practice, those that go after sex workers are the ones that seem to be the motivating factor for these workers to come and out on the streets at night. They should carry the fare share of the burden as well."

Punishment for prostitution related offences range from three months to 12 year- jail, as well as fines.