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Journal Article


Ditmore M, Saunders P. Sex. Health Exch. 1998; (1): 15.


(Copyright © 1998, Royal Tropical Institute)






Preventing HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as well as sexual and physical violence, are major occupational health and safety concerns for prostitutes. Considerable evidence shows that anti-prostitution laws facilitate violence and abuse against prostitutes and may increase their risk of contracting HIV/STDs. For example, police often take advantage of existing laws against prostitution to demand money or sex. In general, the strict enforcement of anti-prostitution laws marginalizes prostitutes from services which could help them avoid abuse and promotes an environment in which prostitutes must take risks to avoid detection and arrest. One strategy to improve prostitutes' lives would therefore be to remove laws which prevent them from working safely and from travelling abroad to work legally. Projects in which prostitutes are actively involved have helped break down stereotypes against prostitutes, while police-sex worker liaison projects in Scotland and Australia have led to higher levels of reporting of crimes against prostitutes. The Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP), an organization which links sex worker health programs around the world, has found that the incidence of HIV/STDs among prostitutes is lowest when they have control over their work conditions; access to condoms, lubricants, and other safe sex materials; and respect of their basic human and legal rights. People need to understand that consensual involvement in sex work is different from forced sex trafficking.

Language: en


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