The new equality minister, Owen Bonnici has asked for a meeting with the  Coalition on Human Trafficking and Prostitution Reform, after it called out for him to ‘reflect’ on the government’s position on the full decriminalisation of prostitution

“Our doors are always open for dialogue and the ultimate aim is to protect vulnerable persons from exploitation and bolster the fight against human trafficking,” a spokesperson for the ministry for equality, research and innovation said.

On Monday, Bonnici was handed Rosianne Cutajar’s portfolio, after the Labour MP’s relegation to the backbench was confirmed by Prime Minister Robert Abela.

Bonnici is now responsible for civil rights, equality and reforms, as well as research, innovation and the coordination of post-COVID strategy. 

After the announcement, the coalition of more than 40 national women’s rights, anti-trafficking and social work NGOs, urged Bonnici to change the government’s position which “fails to acknowledge, much less address, the many perverse and damaging consequences that this course inevitably steers us towards.”

“The minister has already asked for a meeting with the coalition, and another meeting will be held with the government-appointed technical committee,” the spokesperson said. 

The ministry did not reply to questions on whether it will be revising the government's position or the make-up of the technical committee, which the coalition had slammed for lacking expertise.  

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