By Staff Reporter
August 12, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- The Addis Ababa City Government is to introduce a new criminal law prohibiting prostitution, begging and refuge on the streets of Addis Ababa.
Sex tourism and begging continue to be a major social problem in the capital city, Addis Ababa, and other cities of the country, mainly driven by poverty and unemployment.
The procuring of sex (on the streets, in brothels, benefiting from prostitution, etc.) is illegal under Article 634 of the Ethiopian Penal Code, as revised in May 2005. However, these laws are rarely enforced. Ethiopia has become a magnet for sex tourism, including child sex tourism.
According to the new law, prostitutes, homeless children and beggars cannot beg at public places including transport service provision and parking areas as well as along the streets of Addis Ababa.
Attorney Bureau of the city administration said preparations for enforcing the criminal law is nearing to completion and will be enforced shortly.
"The law will be enforced against any person engaged in prostitutions, begging, and living on the streets of Addis Ababa," said Asefa Mebratu , Deputy Head of Attorney Bureau of Addis Ababa City Administration.
Ethiopia is considered as one of the countries where prostitution is widespread. Despite the country's impressive and fast-growing economy, a large part of the population still lives on less than a dollar a day. Every evening, thinly-clad "business ladies" (as they are called) line up Addis Ababa streets looking for customers.
According to the law, those individuals who will be breaching the new law will be punished while minor perpetrators below the age of 18 years will be kept in rehabilitation centers.
The law states that a person who will be giving out money to the beggars can be fined with at least 1000 birr per incident.
Earlier, the city government had drafted similar criminal laws against prostitution, refuge and begging, but it did not approve the law due to disagreement among its council members.
Latest reports indicate the total number of street children, prostitutes and beggars in Addis Ababa has reached over 100,000 despite some effort to reduce the number by the government. 92 percent of those people are reportedly from other parts of the country who came to Addis Ababa looking for work, education, or other things.