HAVANA (Reuters) - A top Cuban official has called for a crackdown on
those who procure prostitutes, saying pimps are a threat to social stability, a
published report said Sunday.
"They are going to finish with us and the revolution if we don't battle
Esteban Lazo, the first secretary of the Communist Party in Havana, was
quoted as saying in Juventud Rebelde.
Speaking at a meeting on delinquency and prostitution, Lazo said pimps
must be punished "even if we have to sin on the side of excess."
"If we don't act with energy against all those who profit from prostitution,
will not put an end to the phenomenon nor will we protect other girls and
families from this evil," he said.
The Cuban official said prostitution's rise in Cuba, in many cases fueled
women brought to Havana from the provinces, is tied to social problems.
Economic hardship and a growth of foreign tourism have fueled its increase.
But Lazo said fight against the sale of sex must encompass more than law
"We cannot fill the country with police and the definitive solution will
repressive, but we have been trying to use persuasion for long time and there
are already symptoms of a certain disrespect for the law which we cannot
take lightly," he said.
The procuring of women for prostitution was criminalized in Cuba in 1961.
At the time, Fidel Castro's government offered pimps "a one way ticket to
From that time until 1991, when Cuba's economy was disrupted by the
Soviet demise, organized prostitution was virtually nonexistent on the island.
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