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Thursday, December 2, 2021

"It is not a crime to engage in prostitution. A person who engages in prostitution cannot be prosecuted."

There are various stories about prostitution in this society.
So we thought we'd bring attorney Saranga Wadasinghe's explanation of prostitution and the law to Gossip Lanka News readers.

Is a prostitute guilty before the law?

There are five Acts in Sri Lankan law governing activities related to prostitution.
Namely, the Penal Code, amended by Act No. 2005 of 12, the Brothels Ordinance No. 1889 of 05 and the Vagrants Ordinance amended by Act No. 1947 of 20, and the Ordinance on Children and Youth No. 1939 of 48 (Children and Young Persons Ordinance) and the Prevention of Trafficking and Prevention of Trafficking in Women and Children Professionals Act No. 2005 of 30.
Let us first consider the provisions of the Prostitution Ordinance.
Section 2 (a) of the Act states:
"Anyone who runs or manages a brothel, or who manages or assists in its management, must be convicted of a crime."
A careful reading of the above article shows that it is not a crime to engage in prostitution.
The same article states that aiding and abetting the running of a brothel is an offense. In the case of Abeykoon A. Kulatunga (52 NLR 47), it was decided that a woman engaged in or kept in prostitution in a brothel could not be charged under Section 2 (a) of the Prostitution Ordinance for aiding and abetting the control of a brothel.
Accordingly, it can be clearly stated that prostitution is not an offense under the Prostitution Ordinance.
Let us next consider the provisions made in this regard by the Wandering Ordinance.
It appears that sections 02,03, 09 and XNUMX of the Act could be used in some way in relation to prostitution.
Let us first examine Section 02.
The article states that every person who behaves in a highly indecent and undisciplined manner on a public road or highway is guilty.
Article 03 states that if a prostitute behaves in an undisciplined or obscene manner while wandering on a public road or on a highway or in a public place, she is guilty.
This section proves that a prostitute who behaves indecently on a public road cannot be prosecuted, even if she can be charged with behaving in an indecent manner.
Section 09 of the Act specifies the penalties that can be imposed on those who employ persons and persons in prostitution and make it a source of income.
There is no legal provision to prosecute a prostitute here either. Chellam (25 NLR 251) is also mentioned in the judgment.
Independent prostitution is also not an offense under the Prevention of Trafficking in Women and Child Trafficking Act No. 2005 of 30.
Sections 1939 and 48 of the Children and Youth Ordinance No. 72 of 73 make it an offense to employ ninety children or young persons or to allow them to stay in a brothel.
However, the Act does not make it a crime to act as a prostitute.
Finally, let us inquire about 360 (A) of the Penal Code. Against those who appoint, not those who engage in prostitution.
Many young people have a habit of going to certain hotels, lodges or similar places and having sex with their boyfriend or girlfriend.
They should also look into whether the police have the power to arrest them in such a case.
Danny A. Sirinimal de Silva (2001 (1) SLR 29) * discussed the case of a woman and a man arrested in a lodge and produced before the court under the Prostitution Ordinance. That application is not a sin.
Therefore, arrest in such a case is a violation of Article 13 (1) of the Constitution.
Considering all the above legal conditions, it can be said that there is no provision in Sri Lankan law for the arrest or prosecution of a woman who is engaged in independent prostitution as a livelihood.

Attorney at Law Saranga Wadasinghe

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