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    Posted January 26, 2014 by

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    Sex workers not criminals, says Phl lawmaker

    A Philippine lawmaker on Sunday said there’s a need for Congress to undertake a critical review of our archaic laws and policies, and one crucial step is the repeal of Articles 202 and 341 of the Revised Penal Code.
    Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said these provisions treat sex workers and other individuals exploited into prostitution as criminal perpetrators instead of victims.
    Rodriguez filed House Bill 3299 that provides protective measures and support services for its victims, and decriminalizing vagrancy, repealing for the purpose of Articles 202 and 341 of the Revised Penal Code and amending R.A. 9208, and for other purposes.
    “The time is ripe to treat sex workers as victims instead of criminals as currently provided under the country's antiquated penal code,” the lawmaker stressed.
    He said that even as the bill (Section 4) provides actions falling under the definition of the crime of prostitution, Section 5 states: "Any woman, man or child, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identify, used or employed for another person’s sexual gratification, pleasure and/or exploitation and for the monetary gain or profit of others, as defined in Section 4 of this Act, shall be treated as victims of prostitution."
    "As such, they (victims) shall not incur any criminal liability under this Act, except those penalized under Section 6 (b) of this Act," the bill provides.
    The measure also provides that the consent of the person exploited in prostitution to the commission of any of the acts defined in Section 4 of this Act shall not in any way exempt the offender from, or mitigate his/her criminal liability.
    The bill (Section 6) also provides for a list of offenses with penalties and sanctions ranging from six months to 20 years imprisonment and fines ranging from P500,000 to P2 million, depending on the violations as classified under Section 4.
    Rodriguez likewise proposes that persons exploited in prostitution may file independent civil cases for damages against the persons, natural or juridical, responsible for their exploitation.
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