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New ad campaign to solve problem of the oldest profession

A new bill seeking to reduce the number of prostitutes should be considered by MPs, according to a campaign "For a Prostitute-Free Hungary", national daily Népszabadság said. The first phase of advance legislation should punish men who initiate sexual relations with a minor, the paper said. The first national crusade targeting men who encourage and maintain prostitution, as well as buying prostitutes' services, was launched in August 2003. Sociologists, writers and other public figures joined over 200 people by Monday evening promoting the initiative and a petition was handed in to MPs the next day. Hungary's current laws on prostitution are wrongheaded and go against international human rights norms, said Zsuzsa Forgács, one of the movement's organisers, citing the example of the New York
1949 convention which presses for the eradication of prostitution. The introduction of tolerance zones in a 1999 law and the punishment regime in place does not in practice penalize those men who take advantage of underage girls. Hungarian law states that sexual relations are legal for every consenting couple above the age of 14. The current law is lacking because there are no means available to punish the client, said Forgacs. At the same time, prostitutes under 18 are fined or put away if they offer their services to a male under the same age. The movement bases their policy proposals on the Swedish model which fines or imprisons anyone who instigates sex with a prostitute.