Policies to ensure health, safety for sex workers discussed


A policy dialogue on “Harm reduction in prostitution - safety, health and human rights protection” was held in Hanoi on September 16th.
According to the International Labor Organisation (ILO), Vietnam has around 161,000 businesses providing “sensitive” services with hundreds of thousands of employees.
Workers at possible prostitution centres often encounter with labor right violations such as working without labor contracts and salary, being forced to drink wine and beer, or even suffering from violence.
They also face a high risk of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, participants said, adding that good working conditions and application of health safety measures will help reduce the risk.
Addressing violations in health and safety should be included in the national program to minimise harms caused by prostitution, the panels added.
Through the ratification of some ILO conventions, the Vietnamese Government has pledged to protect all workers so that they can work in a healthy, safe environment, ensuring no forced labor, child labor and discrimination.
These are the fundamental rights of workers in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals theme of “leaving no one behind”.
Since 2003, the guarantee of labor rights at service businesses has been recognised by the Vietnamese Government and it is also mentioned in the ordinance on prostitution prevention.
The national anti-prostitution program in 2016-2020 also underlines the protection of labor rights at “sensitive” service businesses.
Participants discussed challenges in the field and the role of social organisations in protecting those working in these establishments.
They proposed the Party, State and Government soon promulgate a law on anti-prostitution towards punishing businesses that are unwilling to cooperate with competent agencies in reducing harms to and ensure human rights for their employees.
It is essential to have policies to support HIV/AIDS infected prostitutes to buy health insurance, they suggested.
The Ministry of Labor, War-Invalids and Social Affairs need to review a pilot anti-prostitution model for nationwide implementation and continue studying policies providing loans for prostitutes to change jobs and integrate into the community./.

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All comments [ 10 ]

yobro yobro 19/9/16 16:19

We have recorded many instances where police – as well as clients, and other members of the general public – have inflicted abuses against sex workers with impunity.

John Smith 19/9/16 16:19

It says governments should protect, respect and fulfil the rights of sex workers.

Gentle Moon 19/9/16 16:20

It also calls for the decriminalization of sex work based on evidence that criminalization makes sex workers less safe, by preventing them from securing police protection and by providing impunity to abusers.

Love Peace 19/9/16 16:21

It does not mean the removal of laws that criminalize exploitation, human trafficking or violence against sex workers. These laws must remain and can and should be strengthened.

LawrenceSamuels 19/9/16 16:22

We use the term ‘sex work’ only for consensual exchanges between adults.

Jane smartnic 19/9/16 16:22

Our policy is not about protecting “pimps”. Anyone who abuses or exploits sex workers should face the full force of the law.

Deck Hero14 19/9/16 16:24

We do note, however, the very real problem with so called ‘pimping laws’—that they frequently harm sex workers themselves, rather than their abusers, because they are overly broad and not targeted enough.

Pack Cassiopian 19/9/16 16:24

Instead of the removal of laws criminalizing sex workers, legalization means the introduction of laws and policies specific to sex work to formally regulate it.

Only Solidar 19/9/16 16:25

Amnesty is not opposed to legalization per se; but governments must make sure the system respects the human rights of sex workers.

MaskOf Zero 19/9/16 16:26

Gender inequality can have a major influence on women’s entry into sex work; but criminalization does not address this—it just makes their lives less safe.

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