Colombia’s capital Bogota is planning the construction of malls specialized in prostitution and other sex-related commercial activity.
The plans that were introduced in the city council generated a strong reaction on social media after newspaper El Tiempo reported that brothels would be permitted in “normal” shopping malls.
Mayor Gustavo Petro took to twitter immediately to deny these reports.
The controversy stemmed from article 278 of the plan, which was discussed on Wednesday by the Bogota Council and in which proposals to create commercial centers exclusively for prostitution and other sex-based trade were suggested. These sex malls would only be permitted in so-called “tolerance zones” and will not allow the entrance of minors, Petro explained.
Petro moved to specify the aim of the proposal, which seeks to regulate prostitution in the city and reduce levels of unregulated prostitution in the streets and in residential areas by creating concentrated areas of tolerance for the sex trade.
“What is being reported about prostitutes in shopping centers is not true” read Petro’s twitter account, “The POT [urban planning proposal] is daring to try and regulate an activity which is currently disorganized and open to all types of people and all types of places.”
Bogota Planning Secretary Gerardo Ardila also spoke out Wednesday to counter the claims, while conceding that the plan will need to be revised before implementation.
“There are five areas which we are considering as alternatives to prevent prostitution from invading public space.” They cannot be placed in just any part of the city. This will allow us to control the issue of prostitution” he said.
The idea of organizing zones of tolerance for the business of prostitution in Bogota is not a new one, dating back to the first administration of Mayor Antanas Mockus (1995-1998), however the proposal has since made slow progress.