Today is the 16th International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. Every year sex workers organizations all over the world carry out different types of activities to increase the public concern on sex workers’ vulnerability to violence, and to urge the society to eliminate discrimination against sex workers.

This year, 4 court hearings involved with police officers breaking the law deliberately to abuse power against sex workers ended. They included stealing sex worker’s money, receiving free sexual service, robbing and raping sex worker, and making use of the police power to threaten sex worker. Except the one who was suspected of threatening sex workers and charged of misconduct in public office was acquitted, the others were all sentenced for 9-month to 8-year imprisonment.

We are glad to see how the court fairly and impartially punishes those who hurt sex workers. However, when we see the number of complaints this year we received from sex workers about police and customer violence, we understand that not all sex workers are willing to report their case to the police or complain about the police misconduct. What they learnt from their ‘sisters’ who used to complain and report a case was that they would not be informed anything about the investigation progress or result. They could only receive the call from the police officers in charge of the investigation, reminding them not to tell lies and frame the police officers, half in intimidation and half in goodwill. Sometimes, despite that the police officer is proved doing something wrong by CAPO (Complaints Against Police Office) or even breaking the law by the court, sex workers who report the case and file a complaint still fail to learn about the judgment on the police officer. Seeing the attitudes of police handling sex workers’ crime reports and complaints, no wonder why sex workers strongly believe that ‘it is useless to report to the police’, ‘the police will not investigate the case seriously’, and ‘the police shield their counterparts’.

Hence, we would like to make several appeals on the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. We strongly urged:
  1. CAPO to be independent and separate from the Police Force to increase the credibility and impartiality of the complaint system,
  2. the police seriously follow up the case investigation and enquiries of the complainants, periodically update the informants and complainants on the progress and outcome,
  3. the court remains independent, fair and impartial, regardless of social status, punish all criminals who hurt and harm sex workers regardless of their social status, deliver the message that sex workers are entitled to legal protection to the society.
Zi Teng
Sex workers concern group
17 December 2018

Police violence/abuse Client/criminal violence Boss violence
Free sexual service10 cases Intimidation10 cases Intimidation1 case
Free massage service before arrest17 cases Theft14 cases Properties damaged2 cases
Obstructing the course of justice26 cases Physical assault9 cases
Force/coax into signing the statement14 cases Denial of payment27 cases
Verbal threat and insult16 cases candid camera66 cases
Being deprived of basic rights17 cases Rape3 cases
Indecent assault8 cases Grievous bodily harm21 cases
Neglect of duty15 cases Indecent assault1 case
police break into house without warrant101 cases Harassment5 cases
Arbitrary arrest454 cases Condom removed4 cases
Unnecessary use of authority2 cases Forced labor1 case
Theft2 cases Counterfeit note2 cases
Fraud3 cases
Privacy violation1 case
Robbery9 cases
Properties damaged3 cases
Cyber violence1 case