A new legislation proposal seeks to regulate prostitution and protect sex workers in Colombia, according to local media reports.
Colombian Senator Armando Benedetti proposed the bill to Congress Monday.
In a report by Colombian newspaper El Espectador, Benedetti said, “The proposal intends to regulate sex work in the country and guarantee health and labor rights. […] it’s not to diminish or promote prostitution.”
Prostitution is a grey area in Colombian law. As an unregulated industry, sex workers have little legal recourse in labor and pay disputes. According to another report by El Espectador, various Colombian laws define sex work as “immoral but not illegal.”
The proposal follows a sex scandal involving a U.S. Secret Service agent who had a pay dispute with a Colombian sex worker in Cartagena. The scandal has refocused attention on the industry and the conditions of sex workers in Colombia.
Speaking on the necesity of the new legislation, Benedetti said, “Congress is an old-fashioned caveman. For it, things only fit into two boxes. One for good, one for bad. With issues like these, Congress prefers to hide or turn its back. The same thing happened with abortion and drug decriminalization. They don’t want to talk about education and prevention.”