Hungarian prostitutes to be given entrepreneur permits

// 28 September 2007

Hungarian prostitutes will be allowed to apply for “entrepreneurial” work permits, reports WayOdd and M&C.

Prostitution was already legal in Hungary, making it a target for sex-slave traffickers. I am not one of these people who supports the legalisation of prostitution (or at least not of buying sex), yet this seems to have significant benefits for the individuals involved, considering that sex work was already legal. Much of the coverage seems to revolve around the untaxed income that the Hungarian government will now be able to tap into:

Agnes Bakonyi, spokeswoman for the tax authority APEH, told InfoRadio that the agency would help the prostitutes become entrepreneurs by giving them advice on bookkeeping and legal issues.

Now, this side of the equation is very problematic. It’s one thing to make prostitution legal under the assumption that it will help protect women, but another for the state to profit from that.

However, on the other side of the equation, paying taxes will give them access to “other services” including mortgages, but also, I would suspect, various government benefits. So it could make the lives of sex workers demonstrably better.

Beforehand, prostitutes were presumably stuck in limbo – with their work not exactly illegal, but also not legal enough to benefit from the sorts of things that a person with any other job would take for granted.

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