Cristina Fernández de Kirchner crackdown on sex workers comes as a surprise in a nation where prostitution is legal Argentina’s president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner says the ban on sex adverts is a ‘giant step forward in the defence of women’. Photograph: Marcos Brindicci/Reuters Argentina’s president has banned classifed newspaper adverts by sex workers, in the latest episode of a long-running and acrimonous dispute with the country’s opposition media. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner said the measure represented “a giant step forward in the defence of women”, although many of the ads feature transvestites and male escorts.
The justice minister, Julio Alak, also announced plans to block internet sites advertising sexual services. The announcements came as a surprise in a country where prostitution is legal and where transvestites offer themselves openly in the Rosedal, a traditional city park in the select Palermo district of Buenos Aires, infuriating the high-class neighbours with luxury apartments overlooking the park. Political observers see the ban as the latest swipe by the president at Clarín, a mass-circulation paper that publishes some 200 sex ads daily.
Announcing the ban, Kirchner, who is seeking re-election in the October elections, said it would put an end to the “hefty profits” some newspapers made from the ads. Kirchner and Clarín fell out three years ago when the newspaper sided with the nation’s farmers during a long-running strike that eventually forced the president to back-pedal on an increase in agricultural taxes. Since then Clarín, which had been an unabashed supporter of the president, has focused on the many cases of corruption in her administration. Kirchner has responded by passing a media law that could force the media conglomerate to divest its cable and open-air television holdings. Free-speech advocates protested against the ban, enacted not by Congress but by a stroke of the presidential pen.
“It is unconstitutional because it affects freedom of expression and the exercise of a legal activity,” said Martin Carranza Torres, a technology lawyer. The Argentine Association of Prostitutes also dismissed it as a “magic solution” that was unlikely to solve the real problem of sexual exploitation in Argentina. The ads “in most cases represent legitimate work such as ours”, it said.
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
To not be oppressive to the adult services industry, this advert ban should continue to allow the same type of banned advertising, but specifically in red light districts, or the most cosmopolitan and international areas of major cities. These exceptions within the new legislation must be included to make sense. Conversely heritage areas or monument areas could be required to disallow advertisements altogether as well. Apply common sense to foster a society where extremes are not mistaken for the mainstream.