Sex and taxes – The Czechs are planning to legalise prostitution

For years the Czech government and parlament ignored their complaints that hundreds of sex traders had made everyday life near-impossible.

Miloš Zeman, the Czech prime minister returned to the subject of prostitution, like a man with a mission. Time and again, the premier joined the voters for a guick snigger before getting down to more serious matters. The subject of their mirth is tax.

The interior ministry estimates says, that in this time there are 20,000 hookers in the Czech Republic and they aren´t paying any. The industry is estimated to be worth Kč 10 billion a year. So the state is losing around Kč 3 billion a year in unpaid tax.

Mr. Zeman almost asks, why should these people have fun and pay no tax? It is because one of the first acts of the post-communist regime was to abolish a statute on “parasitism”, used to hound those with no obvious means of support. The victims were not just of prostitutes. Dissidents too were often punished under the same legislation.

This not-quite-legal-not-quite-illegal industry paid no tax, because the ministers were too squeamish to replace criminal sanctions with regulation, or indeed anything else. The legalisation of prostitution could be better also for the prostitutes. The girls will have regular health check-ups and protection before illnesses. Some women couldn´t have been murdered for seeking freedom, or cut of their own earings.

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