The Italian Almanac

shame on you

Shame on You

The government undersecretary for the family slammed a call from right-wing politician Daniela Santanche' to get prostitutes off Italy's streets by reopening the nation's brothels. Santanche' announced that she would promote a popular referendum to abrogate the law which 50 years ago outlawed brothels in Italy, the so-called Merlin Law. The right-wing politician said the reopening of brothels was ''the only way to combat this new slavery of child prostitutes, eliminate the horrid role of the pimp, isolate the criminal element, discourage drug use and make our streets safe''.

Carlo Giovanardi instead suggested that heavy fines and the naming and shaming of punters caught picking up girls would be the most effective way to combat street prostitution. ''They should be fined and have their cars confiscated - everything that is necessary to discourage this sort of behaviour,'' he said. Giovanardi added he did not exclude the idea of publishing the names and photos of men who used street prostitutes. ''The street market feeds the criminal rackets and if someone has sex with a minor or with a slave then he in turn is exploiting the women''. The undersecretary also advised men to use alternative methods to find prostitutes. ''If someone wants to see a prostitute, they just have to pick up a newspaper and reply to one of the ads,'' he said, explaining that this method was acceptable since ''it does not involve exploitation or soliciting''.

According to a recent study there are some 70,000 working prostitutes in Italy, many of them from 60 different countries who are controlled by foreign mafia gangs. The study also calculated that prostitutes in Italy charge an average of 30 euros per customer and generate a turnover in the neighborhood of some 90 million euros a month.