“We are not saying that all people become sex workers, but you make more money,” Virak Horn, a 32-year-old gay sex worker who works freelance in Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh, tells IPS. He earns enough to support his family and pay for his college degree.
The age-old debate over how to regulate sex work has led to a rift between the United Nations and anti-trafficking organisations, which are pressuring the world body to rethink its position following two reports that advocate decriminalising all aspects of prostitution.
Happiness, the subject of endless philosophical discussions, has now become the focus of controversy in an HIV/AIDS prevention campaign aimed at prostitutes in Brazil. The campaign chief has been booted out and a further question has been raised: What are the limits of popular participation in the definition of public policies?
The underground sex trade is closer to our everyday world than we may think.
Despite the enormous distance between the two countries, Argentina has become an increasingly frequent destination for migrants from the Dominican Republic, especially women, who are vulnerable to falling prey to sexual exploitation networks.
Times are tough in this Southeast Asian nation of 14 million people, where over 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty line of a dollar a day. Formal employment is hard to come by and many workers find themselves drifting in the murky waters of the “informal” market, where wages are unregulated and labour laws are seldom honoured.
In a small dingy room on the edge of a brothel in west Kolkata, capital of the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, a 42-year-old former sex worker is trying to eke out a living selling cooked food in her neighbourhood, while tending to her sick husband and a paralysed son.
When French police broke up a Nigerian human trafficking ring that allegedly forced young migrant women into prostitution, the arrests cast a sharp light on the plight of what the authorities called “modern-day slaves”, here and throughout Europe.
Bare-chested and beaming in the company of many like him, London-based male sex worker Thierry Schaffauser wipes the beads of sweat trickling down his face on a humid Kolkata evening, and slams U.S. President Barack Obama.
How many condoms is it legal to carry around in your pocket? That’s the question sex workers in the United States are asking after being routinely targeted by police for having prophylactics – not in itself a crime.