20th International AIDS Conference - Melbourne, Australia


TUPE316 - Poster Exhibition

Sex workers in Papua New Guinea call for reforming laws around sex work and HIV transmission

A. Wai James1, C. Ketepa2

1Friends Frangipani Inc, PNG, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, 2Friends Frangipnai, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Background: Friends Frangipani is the only National Sex Workers Organisation in Papua New Guinea, the Organisation is working to represent the rights and interest of sex workers including issues that are affecting sex workers on HIV/AIDS response and the law.
Sex work is illegal; the law does not allow sex work in Papua New Guinea. It is hard to maximize the health and wellbeing of sex workers while we operate under ground. The laws against sex workers make things more dangerous for us, many of us have faced police violence, abuse, we wish to report our case but again we worried getting arrested or stigmatized and discriminated, our concern are not taken seriously while police are able to arrest us and stopping us for our own business with our own bodies, and report us as crime against us. We need the laws that criminalize sex work to be repealed.
- Not receiving quality sexual health services from service providers.
- Still having double stigma and discrimination by public, and families if identified as sex workers or HIV positive.
- Not able to get a police clearance certificate for jobs because we still have criminal records from being a sex worker.
Lessons learned: We learnt a lot from the national sex worker organization by referring us to other NGO partners that provides sexual health services and legal support. As a member and Executive committee of the organization, we are working together with local, national and international partners on current laws on sex workers to be repealed. We are strongly advocating that reforms should decriminalise sex work in Papua New Guinea and to reduce HIV/AIDS.
Conclusions/Next steps: We as sex workers need,
- freedom of movement
- freedom of speech, accessing clinics without been stigmatized or discriminated,
- families and public to respect what we do with our bodies,
- government body to recognize sex workers as normal human beings and not criminals,
- church based communities to respect us as sex workers,
- we want the governments Regional Dialogue on HIV and the Law to go ahead.

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