The number of male and female prostitutes in Belarus is rising, Syarhey Kaltun, a deputy departmental head at the interior ministry, told reporters in Minsk on July 18.
As many as 140 people were placed on the police's list of sex workers earlier this year. The list includes a total of 1,830 people, including 700 in Minsk, the official said.
Some 50 prostitutes are normally arrested during a night raid by police in Minsk. They are either fined 20 to 50 times the Base Rate or sentenced to jail.
Lyudmila Petsina, head of the Women's Independent Pro-democratic Movement, warned that women were turning to prostitution to make ends meet amid a difficult economic situation.
The activist called for new legislation to fight the prostitution, referring to the experience of Sweden, where prostitution has been decriminalized but paying for sex is a criminal offense.
Ms. Petsina accused the police of not doing enough to tackle the problem. // BelaPAN