Prostitution in Azerbaijan
Prostitution in Azerbaijan is illegal but common. Prostitution is an administrative offence and punishable by a fine. Keeping a brothel is a criminal offence and punishable by up to 6 years' imprisonment. In 2017 a draft law proposing to add heavy fines to the punishment for keeping a brothel was before the National Assembly. It has been estimated that there are 25,054 prostitutes in Azerbaijan, some of which are aged 15 to 18.
In the Badamdar district of the capital, Baku, there are many cafes where prostitutes solicit clients. In 2011, over 300 local residents held a protest against the situation. Prostitutes can also be found in cafes in Nizami Street (known locally as "Torgovaya" – Trade Street) in downtown Baku.
Azerbaijan is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking. Women and children from Azerbaijan are subjected to sex trafficking within the country and in Malaysia, Turkey, Russia, and the UAE. Traffickers increasingly used the internet for recruitment. Azerbaijan is a destination country for sex trafficking victims from Ukraine, and in previous years China, Russia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In previous years, Azerbaijan has been used as a transit country for victims of sex trafficking from Central Asia to the UAE, Turkey, and Iran.
The 2005 Law on the Fight against Trafficking in Persons and article 144 of the criminal code prohibit sex and lobar trafficking and prescribe penalties of five to 15 years' imprisonment. The government investigated twenty-two cases of sexual exploitation in 2016. The government prosecuted 30 defendants for sex trafficking and convicted 28, compared to 18 sex traffickers in 2015. Two traffickers received sentences between one to five years' imprisonment and the other traffickers received sentences between five to 10 years' imprisonment.
The United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons ranks Azerbaijan as a 'Tier 2' country.
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