Mayor of Medellin, Colombia Bans Prostitution After American Man Caught With 2 Local Underage Girls in Hotel Room

By Trisha Andrada

Apr 02, 2024 07:06 AM EDT

The mayor of Medellin, the second-largest city in Colombia, on Monday banned prostitution in some of the city's most popular places for six months.

Medellin's Mayor Federico Gutiérrez argued that the move was necessary in the local government's fight against sexual exploitation of children. 

People are pictured at a bar at the Provenza area in Medellin, Colombia on September 19, 2020.
(Photo : JOAQUIN SARMIENTO/AFP via Getty Images)

Mayor in Medellin, Colombia Banned Prostitution in 2 Popular Districts

According to The Associated Press, Federico Gutiérrez banned prostitution in Provenza and El Poblado, which are filled with bars and clubs and often visited by thousands of tourists.

The two districts are also reportedly popular among sex workers who walk on the streets to look for foreign clients. According to Gutiérrez, criminal organizations are taking minors to these areas and forcing them into prostitution.

"We have to recover the control of this area. It is also very important for us to protect the community," the mayor said in a press conference on Monday.

In Colombia, sex work is permitted if it involves consenting adults. However, local governments can temporarily prohibit this activity once it is regarded as a threat to public order.

Read Also: Washington Governor Jay Inslee Signs Strippers' Bill of Rights Into Law - Here's What You Need to Know

Medellin Prostitution Ban Comes Days After American Man Caught in Hotel in Colombia With 2 Local Girls

The prostitution ban in Medellin comes days after an American man was caught in a hotel room with two local girls aged 12 and 13. 

The local media reported that the 36-year-old man was detained for 12 hours before being released while officials investigated the case. According to reports, he went to Florida after leaving Colombia.

The mayor of Medellin urged authorities in Colombia to speed up the probe. Federico Gutiérrez said, "many people believe they can come to Medellin and do whatever they want."

An increasing number of visitors are flocking to Medellin for its warm weather, affordable prices, and lively environment, which has also led to an increase in sex workers in the city.

Some foreign visitors go straight to the streets to meet sex workers, while others use dating apps, but some of these meetings have turned violent.

The US State Department warned the public in January about the dangers of using dating apps in Medellin after eight Americans were killed in the city between November 1 and December 31, 2023. 

The department said that criminals were using dating apps to lure the victims to bars, hotels, and restaurants where they were drugged, robbed, or kidnapped.

Read More: Elderly Businessman Viciously Killed by Caretaker for Disturbing His Sleep

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