Humanosity says…It’s the world’s oldest profession but to find out that there has been a regulated and legal sex trade in an Islamic country is a surprise to us at Humanosity. This article from the BBC looks at the industry in Tunisia…
Surprisingly state-regulated brothels have existed in Tunisia for decades. Although they are still legal, they are facing growing pressure from women’s rights activists and religious conservatives. The result is that nearly all of them have been forced to close.
The following is an excerpt from a great article that explores the last remaining brothels.
Like many women in Tunisia, Amira, a single unmarried mother in her mid-20s, is working hard to make ends meet. “I wake up at seven in the morning. I wash my face, I do my make-up. I go into the hall, I drink my coffee, and I wait to start our job.” But Amira’s job is far from usual: she is one of the few remaining legal sex workers in the Arab region.
There were an estimated 300 legal sex workers in a handful of brothels across Tunisia, before the 2010 uprising. Today, only a few legal brothels exist in Tunis and Sfax. They are found in the maze of small lanes around the medina, the historical heart of cities.
Tunisia has a two-tier system of prostitution. One is made up of government-registered “maisons closes”, or brothels, where female sex workers are authorised by the state to ply their trade. The other involves illegal freelance sex work, where the people involved risk up to two years in prison if convicted.