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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Legal Prostitution Proposed To Fill Empty Federal Coffers

A group tied to Vladimir Zhirinovsky's ultranationalist party came up with its own proposal Friday for dealing with Russia's financial crisis: legalized prostitution.

This could bring in $1.5 billion a year in tax revenues, and all the government would have to do is license pimps, said Vitaly Chepalyga, head of the Center for Support of Youth Initiatives.

"So they will be paying taxes just like any other private enterprise," he said. "We can say that while the country's leaders have for all these years been getting money from the International Monetary Fund and other Western organizations, the profit from legalizing prostitution could bring in half a billion dollars annually in Moscow alone."

Chepalyga dismissed any concern about whether it was right to condone prostitution, saying the world's oldest profession would continue to exist no matter what the government did.

"If we can't stop it, we should try to benefit from it. Money doesn't smell," said Chepalyga, an avid supporter of Zhirinovsky.

Legalizing prostitution also would help protect the rights of prostitutes, he said, estimating there are 32,000 women in the sex trade in the capital.

"Most of them have no legal status and are involved in an illegal business, so whenever they are hurt or abused, they have no protection from the authorities," he said.

But Chepalyga said there was no point in encouraging prostitutes to create labor unions. "Who is going to lead them? Most of those girls can barely write two lines," he said.

Zhirinovsky's faction has tried to raise the issue of legalizing prostitution in the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, his supporter said.

"But the communists would never let it pass," Chepalyga said.