A descriptive profile of abused female sex workers in India.
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The alarming results of this important descriptive study on 100 abused female sex workers from Chennai, India, illustrate that female sex workers experience severe forms of violence by clients. Female sex workers need to be better protected from violence. Sex work is illegal in some parts of Asia and much of Africa. Because of this and also the stigma and discrimination that sex workers face, they will continue experiencing mental, physical, social and economical abuse. In addition, they do not report to the authorities for fear of being apprehended and labeled 'bad girls' by society. It is both community attitude and practice that do not favour them. According to what I have seen in Kenya, the police are selective in their arrests. They only arrest the female prostitutes and not the clients. Sex work is practiced in lodgings, homes, cars and even bushes (in Kenya). Condom use is low (only 4%) in those areas that have not been reached by education but may rise to 80% within a year. Sex workers are therefore the group that is most at risk of contracting and spreading HIV In my experience in Kenya, sex workers are not aware of their rights and have low self-esteem and low condom use. This point is emphasized by the fact that a study that we are carrying out shows that 44 out of 66 sex workers have suffered violent injuries, e.q. gang rape, forced anal sex, cut with a knife by client, hit on the forehead with a beer bottle and raped, and beaten and taken to police custody, where, alter having been so violated, she is the one to be accused.