Swiss agree to raise legal prostitution age to 18

GENEVA (AP) — Lawmakers in Switzerland, where prostitution is legal, have agreed to outlaw it by anyone under 18 years old.

The lower house passed an amendment without opposition Tuesday to its penal codes that would bring Switzerland into conformity with a Council of Europe convention aimed at protecting children from sexual exploitation. It must be reconciled with the upper chamber, which approved a slightly different version.

Until now, the Swiss allowed prostitution by anyone who was at least 16, the age of sexual consent, although some cantons (states) and cities set stricter rules.

Under the new law, encouraging prostitution by anyone under 18 is a criminal offense. Pimps and managers of brothels or escort services that hire anyone under 18 could face up to 10 years in prison.

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