[JURIST] The Constitutional Court [official website] of Taiwan ruled Friday that a law penalizing prostitutes and not their clients is unconstitutional because it undermines equality under the country's constitution [text]. The Social Order and Maintenance Act will have to be amended to meet constitutional fairness requirements, but will remain in effect two years from the date of the decision. Taiwan is currently reevaluating [Reuters report] treatment of prostitution under the laws of the island, and perhaps including such measures as establishing zones in which prostitution would be legal.
Taiwan regulated [Kyodo report] prostitution until 1997, when it was banned following an initiative by then-Taipei mayor Chen Shui-bian [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. The system that allowed licensed prostitutes to continue to work while they transitioned to different occupations was only phased out in 2001.