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Indian Sex Workers Say Anti-Prostitution Law Will Hurt Efforts to Combat HIV Spread

March 8, 2006

On Tuesday, Indian sex workers criticized a proposed law that would crack down on brothel owners and clients and would give police more latitude in raiding the establishments. While prostitution is illegal in India, the ban is rarely enforced. At a news conference, members of the National Network of Sex Workers said the bill would interfere with HIV/AIDS prevention efforts and push their work further underground. The bill comes as health officials are trying to educate sex workers about HIV/AIDS and promote condom use. "When a customer comes to the brothel, we ask him to wear a condom," said Girija, a NNSW member. "But when there is no brothel, I will have to work secretly. Will I be able to operate on my own terms?" she asked. NNSW will rally against the bill Wednesday in New Delhi.

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Excerpted from:
Associated Press
03.07.06; Neelesh Misra

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