Opening brothels could give Italy tax boost

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Politicians hope changing the law would take prostitutes off the streets. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP
11:49 CET+01:00
The council in Italy's northern Lombardy region is pushing to overhaul the country's law against prostitution, in order to gain tax revenue, Italian media has reported.

The Northern League (Lega Nord) party, which holds a majority in Lombardy, is calling for a national referendum to change a law which shut down brothels, La Repubblica reported on Sunday.

The idea to overhaul the Merlin law, which saw brothels closed in 1958, has the backing of Massimo Bitonci who heads the Northern League in the Senate.

“If this business surfaces it would be hugely significant for the state and local authorities, to collect enough resources not only to avoid tax hikes but also to reduce a series of tax levies,” Bitonci said.

“There is no point in hiding behind hypocrisy and taboo; prostitution is a phenomenon that has always existed,” he added.

A change in the law would make prostitution a taxable profession, regulated within brothels and therefore take prostitutes off the streets, La Repubblica said.

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The full proposal is due to be presented by Northern League politicians in Milan, at the region’s headquarters, on Monday.

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