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Latvia: Restrictions on Sexual Services

(Dec. 2, 2007) On October 26, 2007, the Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia adopted a decree proposed by the Riga City Hall on limiting prostitution. Latvia is not a country where prostitution is legalized, but it is also not a place that prohibits the practice. According to the new rules, sexual services can be provided at premises owned or rented by the service provider personally. The authorities hope that this provision will curtail street prostitution. The rules outlaw services of middlemen, as well as by prostitutes working in groups, and list places where prostitution is prohibited. The latter include cultural, educational, religious, entertainment, health care, and sport institutions and buildings where state and municipal authorities are located. Because the creation of brothels is not allowed, hotel rooms cannot be offered for prostitution, and administrative punishment for hotel owners who ignore this rule has been introduced. Stricter measures against recruiters and owners of establishments that illegally offer sex services are foreseen. Also, the regulation lists specific sexual services for which paid performance is prohibited. Local governments are allowed to define areas where individuals cannot offer or provide sex services. (Riga Bans Prostitution Next to Churches, REGIONS.RU.)