Criminal liability needed for sexual exploitation of minors
La Strada Ukraine has issued a statement regarding bills recently tabled in parliament and the general situation regarding underage prostitution. They point out that international standards impose liability on those who entice minors into prostitution or use them sexually. In Ukraine the law presently envisages punishment for the minor, and this must be changed.
At present, the statement explains, Article 181-1 of the Code of Administrative Offices imposes liability for anyone, 16 or over, engaging in prostitution, since 16 is the age at which administrative liability comes into effect.
La Strada Ukraine stresses that a 16 or 17 year old is still a minor and it is those who use their bodies or drag their into prostitution who should be held answerable. They should be treated as victim, received the relevant social, psychological and medical assistance, undergo rehabilitation programmes, etc. Ukrainian legislation is not in line with the requirements of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in not making the buying of sexual services from a child illegal.
Two draft laws were tabled on 19 November – No. 7390 and 7391, which propose amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences, Criminal and Criminal Procedure Codes regarding protection of children from trafficking and exploitation. They were drawn up by a working group created in 2009 under the auspices of La Strada – Ukraine.
The bills propose removing administrative liability for those under the age of 18 for engaging in prostitution, which establishing criminal liability for those who make use of child prostitution.
La Strada – Ukraine expresses the hope that political differences can be overcome and that the Verkhovna Rada will support these important legislative initiatives.