Ashgabat, 17 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Turkmenistan's President Saparmurad Niyazov has issued a decree heavily punishing prostitution. The decree provides for fines for offenders of up to 20 times the average monthly wage, or a 15-day jail sentence.
Turkmenistan's average monthly wage is currently about $15. Several convictions for prostitution, brothel-keeping or engaging in sex with prostitutes can result in a prison sentence of up to two years.
About 80 prostitutes, working for dollars in a central area of Ashgabat, were detained by authorities in a round-up a week ago. Commenting on the round-up, President Niyazov had said he believes some police officials are directly involved in Turkmenistan's prostitution business.