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PM Addresses Alleged Prostitution and Discrimination at Tbilisi Nightclubs

TBILISI – Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, made a statement on Wednesday regarding alleged prostitution and male-targeted discrimination in some nightclubs in central Tbilisi, especially those located near Rose Revolution Square.

The PM said that he has been informed of local men not being allowed in these nightclubs, which are mainly owned by foreigners.

He the same allegations accuse underage persons of prostitution in these same establishments, presumably providing an explanation as to why Georgian men are denied entry.

“This is a very big problem. For me, this is disrespect of our country’s dignity, and this problematic issue should be solved as soon as possible,” said the PM.

Kvirikashvili tasked the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) with studying the case, and solving the problem in a timely fashion.

Deputy Interior Minister Shalva Khutsishvili said MIA has already started working on the issue.  He said the results of the investigation would be made known immediately to the public.

The PM’s statement caused different reactions among the politicians and society.

Georgia’s main opposition party - the United National Movement (UNM) – has expressed concern that such statements may hamper investments, as most nightclubs in Tbilisi are owned by foreigners.

The UNM believes it is up to the owners of the clubs to determine who is and isn’t allowed to enter the establishments.

Some parties have pointed out that prostitution has always existed in Georgia, suggesting that the PM raised the question in order to cover other more important issues. Others suggest that the PM is somehow attempting an unspecified manipulation of matters using the anti-discrimination law adopted on May 2, 2014.

“If there are any places where child prostitution takes place, this is violation of the law and has nothing to do with the discrimination of ethnic Georgians,” said Giorgi Gotsiridze, member of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, a local NGO.

Another NGO, named ‘Article 42 of the Constitution’ says that police already have enough information about places of prostitution, but are doing nothing regarding the matter because of the number of police informants involved.

“If the police are going to work on the issue of prostitution, the PM should not have assigned the task (to them) publicly. After his statement, I do not think this to be an effective investigation,” the head of ‘Article 42 of the Constitution’ said.

By Thea Morrison

11 January 2017 23:20