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In mid-May, the yvision. Legalization would also pave the way for better health services for both prostitutes and customers and thus, presumably, check the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The letter also outlined economic arguments for legalization. For one, state regulation would better protect Kazakhstani prostitutes from competition on the part of migrant sex workers from other FSU states, in particular Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine, it contended.
In addition, the letter emphasized that the taxation of the commercial sex trade could contribute a tidy sum to Kazakhstani government coffers at a time when state revenue streams in other areas, most notably in the energy sector, are declining. The concept of regulating the flesh trade is a tough sell for legislators.
Outside of parliament, the debate on legalization has focused mostly on economic questions. The group contends that the number of prostitutes in Kazakhstan is comparatively low, thus, if taxed, the amount collected by the government would not be able to plug many budgetary gaps.
Data on the number of sex workers in Kazakhstan is hard to come by. Estimates in recent years have not been made public: the Ministry of Interior does compile such statistics, but the information is classified and for internal use only. In , officials said there were 4, prostitutes working in the country. Unofficial sources, however, said the actual number could be double the government estimate.
Some critics worry that legalization would present the wrong image of Kazakhstan to the outside world, and turn the country into an undesired sex-tourism destination. It is not a crime to sell sex for money in Kazakhstan. However, there are administrative and criminal penalties for activities related to prostitution, such as soliciting or offering sexual services in public areas, operating a bordello, or engaging in the trafficking of persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation.