Sex work and violence
The religious and traditional moralist sentiments globally, cause sex work to be viewed as dreadful behaviour. Inline with this assertion, McBride, Shannon, Bingham, Braschel, Strathdee& Goldenberg, (2020) asserted that this violence is partly fuelled by perpetrators’ recognition of sex workers’ devalued social status.
Hence, perceived as an undignified profession that deprives women of self-worth. From this point of belief, society sees sex work as taboo and sex workers as people who deserves all sort of ill-treatment, people whose rights can be abused with the backing of law enforcement agencies. Research has shown that sex workers often hesitate to report incidents to the police due to deep-rooted mistrust and fear of criminal charges, stigma, or further abuse.
To buttress the above assertion, Evan, Lanham, Santi, Cooke, Ridgeway & Morales (2022) opined that female sex workers, MSM, and transgender women—collectively referred to as key populations (KPs)—are disproportionately affected by gender-based violence (GBV) and HIV, yet little is known about the violence they face, gender-based origins, and responses to GBV.
It is a known fact that globally, sex workers face heinous human rights violations, including high levels of violence, which have been associated to health and social inequities such as an elevated burden of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and poor reproductive and mental health outcomes. McBrideet’all(2020).
Until these archaic perceptions are corrected, abuse of sex workers will persist and be on the rise.Societal and religious norms have done more havoc than good to the key population in general.
Over the years, questions have been raised by concerned organisations, feminists and advocates about the rights of sex workers and the role of law enforcers in protecting these rights. This is so because
Sex workers are at risk of being compelled to provide free sexual services to police officers out of fear of being harmed or arrested in many instances. Study revealed that the inabilityof sex workers to contact police after experiencing violence allows perpetrators to abuse sex workers innocently, thereby perpetuating high levels of assault.
Sex workers are victimised, targeted and highly vulnerable to physical and sexual assaults. The need for consistent advocacy is pertinent. Also, law enforcement agencies need to be enlightened and reminded often that sex workers’ rights are human rights.
With the support from the government and compliance from the law enforcement agencies, violence against sex workers will reduce to the nearest minimum.