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Sir, - I write in response to an article by Derek Scally in your edition of November 30th entitled "Welcome to the sex capital of Europe". While I fully respect the freedom of speech and autonomy of your newspaper, I must point out that this article contains a number of erroneous statements and unsubstantiated accusations and I would like to correct at least the most dubious of them. It is not true that "prostitution in the Czech Republic is legal for overs".
No legislation exists in the Czech Republic which would make prostitution legal. The above age limit merely refers to the fact that sexual relations with a person younger than 15 years of age is a criminal offence. Furthermore, in compliance with one of the by-laws of Cheb the border town featuring in Mr Scally's article , which prohibits prostitution in its streets, offenders are charged.
None of the cases reported to date concern persons younger than It is incorrect to claim that Czech officials pay no attention to the problem of child prostitution and sex abuse.
There is no disputing the upsetting fact that certain regions of the Czech Republic, which share their borders with Germany, are fighting an uphill battle against the ever increasing number of sexual offences. However, the government of the Czech Republic is tackling this problem in a responsible and committed manner.
In support of this point, the European Commission noted in its regular report of November 13th an improvement in the measures taken to prevent sex tourism in the Czech Republic. At the risk of stating the obvious, let me stress that in the Czech Republic - as in all other civilised countries - paedophilia and sex trade involving women and children are serious criminal offences.