Sex workers in China will no longer face manual labor punishment

China will reportedly stop punishing sex workers and clients by imprisoning them at centers where they are forced to work.

The punishment of detention for up to two years at so-called education centers will end this Sunday, and current prisoners will be freed, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported Saturday, citing state media. 

Prostitution reportedly will remain illegal in China and will be punishable by up to 15 days in detention and fines of up to 5,000 yuan, or $714.71. 


According to the BBC, Chinese state media said the system has helped foster a “good social atmosphere and public order” but has become less appropriate since it began more than 20 years ago. 

Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch called on China to end its “custody and education” system for sex workers. 

China researcher Yaqiu Wang said in a statement at the time that the system has “subjected hundreds of thousands of sex workers to horrendous abuse.”

A 2013 report from the group alleged that sex workers were “beaten, blackmailed, and harassed” during a 2010 crackdown. 

The rights of sex workers has become a hot topic around the world, including in the U.S.

Democratic presidential candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have expressed openness to decriminalizing sex work in the U.S.

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