XI International Conference on AIDS|
July 7-12, 1996
Catherine La Croix
Occupational Safety and Health Regulations as an HIV/AIDS Prevention Strategy in the Context of Sex Work
IssueProstitution is either a crime or half-legal/half-illegal, everywhere in the world, and sex workers often have little control over working conditions, unless they work independently, and no legal recourse to combat abuse. Lack of control, power, and autonomy are associated with high risk behavior and/or the inability to adopt safer sex and/or drug use practices. Although many governments have implemented harm reduction, needle exchange, and condom promotion, few have addressed the central issue of sex workers' control over their work.
Occupational Safety and Health HazardsSafety/health hazards associated with sex work include:
violence from clients, police, and managers;
stress from working in an illegal market, without paid sick leave, workers' compensation or disability insurance, paid vacation, or a minimum wage;
drug and alcohol dependency related to client demand and/or job related stress.
Occupational Safety and Health Responses
training in sex work skills to reduce the likelihood of repetitive stress injuries, bladder/kidney infections, and stress;
self-defense training to improve workers' ability to recognize warnings of violence, and/or defend themselves;
regulations governing the size of the workspace, ventilation, access to running water, electricity, linens, provision of condoms and lubricants;
grievance procedures/mediation to resolve disputes between workers and managers, resolve sexual harassment conflicts.
Open drop-in centers in stroll districts where street workers can get condoms, emotional and legal support, information about dangerous clients, and referrals to other agencies.
Support the organization of trade unions, street-based workers' associations, and professional guilds.
Offer skills evaluation, re-training, and related services to help prostitutes prepare for other work, school, and other vocational changes.
|XI Int. Conference on AIDS abstracts...||
Created: July 16, 1996|
Last modified: July 17, 1996
Network of Sex Work Projects|
29-35 Farringdon Road,
London EC1M 3JB, UK