Response to : State violence towards sex workers

Ahmadi, Keivan and Soyiri, Ireneous N. (2013) Response to : State violence towards sex workers. BMJ . ISSN 0959-8138

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The sensitivities embedded in HIV and HIV-related stigma take its roots from a perceived moral taint, which is tagged to people living with HIV. 1 Unfortunately, sex workers are the main target of this form of stigma by the state; police; and partly the public 2,3. Sex workers are devalued in the eyes of the society due to job description associated with them.

The criminalisation of HIV transmission and sex work 4 as well as police violence 3 might have resulted in the vulnerability of sex workers; where due to the fear from the police and lack of support from the state, they are unable to capitalise on the sexual negotiations for safe sex with their clients. 5

Conversely, the suggestion to recognise sex work as an occupation 6,7 may arguably create an employment for which its employees might continue to be ruthlessly stigmatised. Instead we think that it is important to inculcate a culture of tolerance towards commercial sex workers and to indoctrinate the ideology that policing sex should be stopped. Educational tools are needed to mobilise the stake holders i.e., the members of society, clinicians, legislators, police, religious leaders, politicians; by including them in the panels which discuss critical issues of HIV, sex work, and stigma. We would also like to call for institutionalising a robust global care system, which by strategy, should adopt a holistic approach towards the societal rights and clinical needs of sex workers.

Additional Information:Rapid response to original article
Keywords:Sex workers, Stigma, Tolerance
Subjects:L Social studies > L990 Social studies not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Science > School of Pharmacy
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ID Code:22218
Deposited On:12 Feb 2016 09:48

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