Rome’s red-light area is ‘tolerance zone for slavery’ – Ramonda

Rome’s first official red-light district is to be established in April, after Mayor Ignazio Marino gave his backing to council proposals.

Although soliciting, pimping, and operating brothels are illegal in Italy, Italian law does not ban the sale of sex. Roughly half of Italy’s 70-100,000 prostitutes are believed to be foreign nationals, with two-thirds working on the streets.

The city council’s plan is for prostitution to be permitted and regulated in one non-residential part of Esposizione Universale Roma (EUR), a Fascist-era suburb built with the intention of hosting the eventually cancelled 1942 World’s Fair.

Social workers will be provided for prostitutes working within the supervised area, while police will be directed to impose fines of up to €500 on prostitutes touting for business outside the district.

Mgr Enrico Feroci, director of Caritas Roma, has criticised the proposal, saying “prostitution always involves human exploitation” and that “trying to regularise it or tolerate it is therefore always mistaken”.

Giovanni Ramonda (pictured), general director of the Pope John XXIII Community, which calls for Italy to emulate Sweden’s strategy of seeking to end prostitution by criminalising clients rather than sex workers, agrees, saying the council’s proposal would give Rome “tolerance zones for the slavery of women”.