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Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan): Increased Punishment for Involvement in Prostitution Proposed

(Apr. 15, 2014) On March 27, 2014, the legislature of Kyrgyzstan initiated amendments to the country’s Criminal Code that provide for increased punishments for crimes associated with involving other persons in prostitution. (Punishment for Involvement in Prostitution Will Be Increased in Kyrgyzstan [in Russian], LENTA.RU (Mar. 27, 2014).)

If the amendments are passed, the crime of “engaging others in prostitution” will be punishable by a fine in an amount equal to US$6,000-$10,000 or imprisonment for a term of from three to five years. Those who commit this crime within an organized group will be imprisoned for up to eight years, with seizure of their property. (Id.; text of the legislation in Russian can be downloaded from the Jogorku Kenesh [the parliament of the Kyrgyz Republic] website (last visited Apr.7, 2014).)

At present, this crime is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years. The Kyrgyz draft legislation defines “engagement of others in prostitution” as involvement of minors and adults in the provision of sexual services and maintaining facilities where such services are offered. (Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic [official text, in Russian], Law No. 68 of Oct. 1, 1997 (as amended by Law No. 10 of Mar. 1, 2012), arts. 124, 157, Jogorku Kenesh website.)

Prostitution is not a crime under Kyrgyz law. In 2012, several efforts were made to introduce in the legal system criminal and administrative liability for offering sexual services because, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (police), which was behind these attempts, prostitution in Kyrgyzstan is connected with organized crime and is a leading source of drug use and alcoholism. However, these suggestions were not supported by legislators. (Punishment for Involvement in Prostitution Will Be Increased in Kyrgyzstan, supra.) According to local police, there are about 3,000 working prostitutes in the Kyrgyz capital city of Bishkek, and this business generates about US$10 million monthly. (Punishment for Involvement in Prostitution Will Be Increased in Kyrgyzstan, supra; Press Release, Jogorku Kenesh, Public Discussion on Proposed Amendments to the Criminal Code Will Start on February 19 [in Russian] (Feb. 19, 2014).)