Despite some support for legalizing prostitution in three recent straw polls, the government will not legalize prostitution, Minister of Women’s Affairs Mu Sochua told two legalization advocates at a panel discussion at the Foreign Correspondents Club Thursday.
Mu Sochua said if a draft law on legalization was proposed it would not pass the National Assembly and would not even go beyond cabinet-level discussion.
While agreeing the government has been ineffective in dealing with the social crisis, Mu Sochua said it is looking toward a longterm strategy to tackle the root cause of prostitution: poverty. “The government has not dealt with the issue in an effective or humane way,” she said.
The other panelists, Chea Vannath, director of the Center for Social Development, and Kien Serey Phal, president of the Cambodia Women’s Development Association, said they favored legalizing prostitution. Noting the number and conditions of sex workers and the spread of AIDS in Cambodia, Chea Vannath said there also was a serious need for short-term solutions.