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Prostitution in Uruguay was legislated in through the sex work law It also obliges the government to advise sex workers of their rights and duties, support them against exploitation and provide sexual health information. The law set up a confidential National Registry of Sex Workers. Sex works must enrol on the National Registry, this demands an initial and periodical health checks focus in the prevention, detection and treatments of sexually transmitted diseases.
The register gives the worker a license which is necessary to work in brothels. Article 31 of the law provides penalties for selling sex without a health card, and their names are placed on the register. Local authorities may, in consultation with sex workers, set up local sex work areas. These must not be near educational establishments and be sensitive to local opinions. The local authority may also set working hours and dictate dress code and behaviour. Brothels and commercial sex bars are permitted provided they have the agreement of local police and are licensed.
Sex may not be sold in massage establishments. The law established a "National Honorary Commission for the Protection of Sex Work", and two sex workers sit on the commission. The prostitution of a minor person under the legal age of consent is prohibited and the authorities have the obligation of protect them from sexual exploitation and prostitution.
Despite this, many sex workers work on the streets or independently and not always have health checks. In order to open, a brothel must have the authorization of the municipal government and the state police and follow certain rules dictated by the Ministry of Public Health.
Police and municipal government are in charge of determining in which areas brothels may exist considering the characteristics of the place. However brothels may not function near schools or high schools.