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  • 2021-08-02 00:07:15
Sexual corruption: The taboo phenomenon

Obviously, the phenomenon of corruption is seen as a problem or scourge that destroys the foundations of the state and poses a real threat to the country's economy and its social fabric. In Tunisia, resistance to corruption is considered to be one of the most important issues strikingly raised through the demands and slogans raised during the uprising of 2011. It has continued to become a popular demand to save the state. sediment from the corrupt and revive it with policies based on transparency, democracy and accountability. Despite the remarkable progress that Tunisia has witnessed over the years, whether in terms of legislation or institutions, the situation remains at an impasse. In other words, the state is still fertile ground for the spread of corruption and its expansion to invade all joints of the state. In a context marked by the precarious application of principles and human rights, corruption poses a greater threat to marginalized groups who find themselves more vulnerable to various types of corruption. Corruption acquires a great peculiarity with the difference between gender and the extent of its marginalization.

Sexual corruption: the lack of a legal framework

The term is divided into two concepts: The first is corruption, and it refers to the meaning of the second chapter of framework decree No. 2011-120 of 14 November 2011, relating to the fight against corruption: "The misue of power, influence or position to obtain personal benefit. Public and private sectors, appropriation of public funds, embezzlement or waste of public funds, abuse of influence, abuse of or abuse of power, illicit enrichment, breach of trust, embezzlement of corporate funds and money laundering. The second “sexual” refers to sexual exploitation. It means "any abuse or attempted misuse of a state of vulnerability, disparity of influence or trust for the purpose of achieving sexual ends, which includes, but is not limited to obtaining financial, social or political gain through the sexual exploitation of another party. ” [1]

Despite the remarkable frequency of the phenomenon of sexual corruption throughout the recent period, and despite the expansion of the legislator in the adaptation of corruption and the enumeration of its types, in particular with the publication of the fundamental law No. 2016-41 relating to the denunciation of corruption and the protection of whistleblowers, the repercussions of this phenomenon have not yet prompted the legislator to include sexual corruption as a kind of Types of corruption. As its definition in Tunisian law is still vague and precise, which makes the adaptation of this phenomenon and the determination of the responsibility of the parties to it a vague and difficult question. This legal silence has represented fertile ground for lawyers to define the term and define its most important pillars. In this context, sexual corruption has been defined as a person (a public official or an employee of the private public service) requesting sexual services in exchange for benefits or services that flow from their work. [2] It should be noted that sexual corruption is characterized by the confidentiality of return, as we are used to return in the form of money, movable property, real estate or privileges. However, the issue differs with sexual corruption, where the exploitation is only for the purpose of sexual service.

Sexual and gender corruption: what private life?

The crime of corruption is particular to those marginalized by reason of their gender. Clearly, given the lack of implementation of gender equality, women are seen as targets and more vulnerable to the crime of sexual corruption. In other words, their economic and social reality is exploited, blackmailed and sexually exploited in exchange for the provision of a specific service. The return here to the crime of corruption goes from financial exchanges to a demand for sexual favors. Sexual corruption takes many forms, such as sexual harassment. In this context, the offense of corruption can be adapted as a

form of exploitation or economic violence within the meaning of Chapter 3 of Organic Law No. 58 of 2017 of 11 August 2017 on the elimination of violence against violence. towards women. Considering the precarious situation that women still suffer in terms of the implementation of protection measures and the activation of all their rights, the question becomes desirable and easy for the perpetrator of the crime. It should also be noted that one of the most important reasons that led to the spread of this phenomenon is the fear of denunciation, the fear of extortion and the threat of the responsible party, and in the opinion of the society that she can hold her guilty and responsible for the perpetrator of this crime asking for a sexual bribe. Likewise, a woman may be in urgent need of work, so she is negotiated to provide this service and blackmailed if she refuses to do so. The lack of reporting made the fight against this type of corruption difficult, in particular due to the lack of serious media coverage of the issue. In addition to targeting women as a vulnerable and marginalized party, marginalized sexual minorities are also targeted and blackmailed in return for a specific service. This group also finds it very difficult to follow responsible parties due to their legal and social situation and their lack of confidence in the effectiveness of the competent judicial system in terms of monitoring and accountability.


Faced with the growing phenomenon of sexual corruption, we must think about solutions to combat it. Therefore, in legal terms, today it is necessary to include the crime of sexual corruption as a form of corruption at the level of anti-corruption legislation. This adjustment would identify the responsible parties and clarify the judicial and judicial monitoring procedures. In addition, establishments affiliated with public or private establishments must ensure the implementation of the code of conduct that employees must respect. Likewise, at the level of the media and civil society, it is necessary to sensitize women to the seriousness of the phenomen.

Written by: Maha AYADI

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