TWO senior ministers of the Methodist Church of Fiji differ on the idea of legalising sex workers in the country.
Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu, who takes over as president of the church in January, said he opposed the legalisation of prostitution while Reverend Tevita Nawadra, who replaces him as general secretary, said he was for legislation to protect sex workers.
"Personally and, I think, the position of the church that we do not support the legalisation of prostitution is simply because it contradicts with the laws of the Ten Commandments that 'thou shall not commit adultery'," Mr Waqairatu said.
"There should be wider consultation in order for the people, the stakeholders like the church, the vanua as well as families can talk and discuss the way forward for them when dealing with the issue."
Mr Nawadra said otherwise.
He supported legalising prostitution "because it will be overwhelming for those who suffer from HIV/AIDS".
Mr Nawadra said there were other diseases related to this type of lifestyle and through legalisation they could keep account of sex workers.
"They can have some idea of who is who in the field of sex work and it's easier to trace them wherever they are to help them," he added.
"The Methodist Church, for example, has always been difficult to express its own stand on this issue.
"I think there needs to be a lot of follow-up and once sex workers are recognised officially and legalised, church workers can easily follow them and help them through counselling and whatever they can to help them live a life that is worth living."
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum yesterday rejected a statement by the Health Ministry acting permanent secretary, Dr Josefa Korovueta, who said the ministry wanted legislation to protect sex workers.
Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said no amendment to the Crimes Decree had been approved by Cabinet and any significant change to it would require approval and would only occur after wide community consultations.