Mara Carfagna, the Italian Minister for Equal Opportunities and a former “calendar girl” and television showgirl, came under fire from prostitutes’ representatives for condemning women who “sell their bodies for money”.
Introducing a new law making street prostitution a crime, with fines for clients as well as prostitutes, Ms Carfagna, 32, said that at present in Italy, “as in the great majority of Western countries”, brothels and the exploitation of prostitutes by pimps were illegal but prostitution as such was not.
She added: “It’s a shameful phenomenon. As a woman it makes me shudder, I am horrified by it. I don’t understand how someone can sell their body in the street for money. But I realise that it exists and, like drugs, cannot be wiped out. We intend to make it more difficult and to combat the criminal organisations who make an obscene profit by reducing these women to slavery.”
Carla Corso, a founder of the Italian Committee for the Rights of Prostitutes, said that she was “fairly astounded” by the minister’s remarks. “After all, the lady used her own body to get where she is today, by posing for calendars” she told Corriere della Sera. “You only have to look on the Internet to see her charms.”