Vice Squad
Monday, May 03, 2004
Sex Workers' Rights Conference in Hong Kong

Reuters reports on the proceedings at yesterday's Hong Kong conference on prostitute rights. Here's the beginning of the linked article: "The world's oldest profession should be decriminalised and treated like any other business, international activists at a Hong Kong conference on prostitution said on Sunday.

Prostitutes are abused by policemen who demand free sex and then arrest them for soliciting and they are victimised by politicians who launch crackdowns to woo voters, speakers at the conference said.

Activists also demanded better health support for prostitutes to prevent the spread of diseases including HIV/AIDS, especially in less developed parts of the world."

UPDATE, May 4: Here's an article covering the conference that offers a good deal of international background and presents many of the issues that arise in the regulation of prostitution. An excerpt...

"In Germany, where prostitution has been legalized a new study has found that many sex workers still remain reluctant to register with authorities as they continue to experience discrimination. The study also discovered that women are often put in unnecessarily dangerous situations as a result of arbitrary rules that dictate exactly where they are allowed to tout for business. These are often dark and dead industrial areas, where the women are far more vulnerable to violence. One of the problems with the new prostitution law is that it does nothing to help foreign prostitutes, who constitute almost half of Germany sex workers, who don't have a legal work permit. Without it, they can't report ill treatment or exploitation to the police unless they want to run the high risk of subsequent deportation. The sad reality of prostitution in Germany is that despite the new law, most prostitutes still work under very poor conditions. The majority of the money they earn is taken away from them by pimps and landlords and, for those who are trying to work by the book, from the tax office as well."

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