Religious Crusaders Target the Last Legal Brothels in Tunisia

BBC News reports that decades-old, state-regulated legal brothels in the African nation of Tunisia are being forced to close; victims of “pressure from women’s rights activists and religious conservatives” – Muslim groups including Ennahda (Tunisia’s Islamist party), and Salafist extremists.

Chuck Muth of the Nevada Brothel Association notes that this crusade “mirrors similar efforts by religious conservatives to close legal brothels in rural Nevada.”

From the BBC report on the plight of brothels in Tunisia by Shereen El Feki:

Tunisia has a two-tier system of prostitution. One is made up of government-registered “maisons closes”, or brothels, where female sex workers are authorized by the state to ply their trade. The other involves illegal freelance sex work, where the people involved risk up to two years in prison if convicted.

When Amira, 25, started working in Sfax five years ago, there were 120 legal sex workers. Now she is one of a dozen left.

“We used to make a living for our children, pay our rent. We don’t anymore. Actually, I don’t have anything else. If they kick us from there, where we would go?” …

Over in Tunis, Nadia, a divorcee in her 40s, knows the answer all too well.

She misses her life in the legal system: “It is not the same as when we were in the protected brothel, with a doctor [for weekly medical exams], a female condom and a madam [who kept an eye on proceedings].”

“Now when I get a client I am scared because I don’t have anyone who can protect me or stand by my side. …

Afef, a former madam whose brothel was recently shuttered, explained the difficulties.

“Even if [a former sex worker] goes to work in a restaurant to clean dishes,” she said, “one or two days later, they will say that this woman was working in a brothel and the boss would say: ‘Sorry I cannot hire you.’”

515300cookie-checkReligious Crusaders Target the Last Legal Brothels in Tunisia

Religious Crusaders Target the Last Legal Brothels in Tunisia

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