World AIDS Day: Rights to (Use) Condoms, Safe Sex to Sex Workers

It is the World AIDS Day today. There are activities all over the world aiming to raise the public awareness in AIDS, and to foster the work of AIDS prevention and education.

Imbalanced Resources Distribution leading to Ignorance
Sex workers are often viewed as one ‘high-risk’ group infecting or transmitting HIV. This is because it is commonly believed that the more sex partners one person has, the higher the risk s/he will be infected. However, the truth about HIV infection is more related to safe sex practices but not the number of sex partners.

Because of the above misconception, most resources for HIV/AIDS education are spent on the ‘high-risk’ sex workers, but other social groups are often excluded from the HIV/AIDS education, knowing nothing about HIV/AIDS and safe sex practices. In fact, most sex workers understand HIV/AIDS and how to use the condoms. Nevertheless, facing a group of people who are made ignorant of HIV and safe sex, sex workers always have to struggle to make their clients and even partners wear condoms, to protect themselves from unsafe sex

Hard to sue for ‘rape; sex workers no protection
What is worse is that, many shameless people deliberately remove the condom when they have sex with sex workers. Though this may constitute ‘rape’ (Crimes Ordinance Chapter 200 section 118), it is not easy to give evidence. There is a very rigid definition of ‘rape’. For example, if the client has not violently forced the sex worker to perform unprotected sex, or the sex worker cannot show any sign of self-defense, it is very impossible to sue the client. This will eventually ‘encourage’ more clients to remove the condom during the sexual intercourse with sex workers, bring greater risks to sex workers.

Rights to (Use) Condoms, Safe Sex to Sex Workers
If we do not have a sound judicial system to punish those breaking the law, to threaten the criminals and to protect sex workers, it is meaningless for sex workers to insist to use condoms or to perform safe sex. Moreover, if the government is reluctant to popularize its safe sex education, sex workers still have to struggle a lot to make the ignorant people use condoms.

As a conclusion, we demand the followings:

  1. Popularize safe sex education, stop the policy of targeting at the so-called ‘high risk’ groups;
  2. Arrest and punish those deliberately removing the condoms; protect sex workers and other women in the society;
  3. Provide more legal protection for sex workers, create them a safer working environment.

December 1, 2010

Zi Teng (sex workers concern group)
Tel: 23327182
Correspondence: Hong Kong Post Office Headquarters PO Box 7450