The Italian government has introduced a new law to crack down on street prostitution as part of a wider battle against crime.
Pimps and clients are targeted by the legislation, which envisages jail terms and hefty fines for offenders.
There are said to be up to 100,000 prostitutes in Italy, many of them illegal immigrants.
The government says it’s time to act. Equality Minister Mara Carfagna said: “These measures will deal a heavy blow to the sex trade and its roots, punishing prostitution in the streets, which has become the privileged place for this shameful phenomenon.”
The new law is central to the government’s campaign against crime, which politicians and the media largely blame on illegal immigrants.
However, critics say the new measures will simply force prostitutes to work behind closed doors.