New UN report looks at links between sex work, HIV and the law in AsiaPacific
18 October, Bangkok -- Nearly all countries of Asia and the Pacific criminalize some aspects of sex work. Criminalization increases vulnerability to HIV by fuelling stigma and discrimination, limits access to sexual health services and condoms. Removing legal penalties for sex work allows HIV prevention and treatment programmes to reach sex workers and their clients more effectively. These are some of the findings in an unprecedented study issued today by the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The report clearly distinguishes between adult consensual sex work and human trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Sex Work and the Law examines 48 countries in Asia and the Pacific to assess laws, legal policies and law enforcement practices that affect the human rights of sex workers and impact on the effectiveness of HIV responses.
Where sex work has been decriminalized, there is a greater chance for safer sex practices through occupational health and safety standards across the industry. Furthermore, there is no evidence that decriminalization has increased sex work.
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