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Asian sex workers protest against violence, WTO

December 17, 2005  

Asian sex workers and concerned groups, have marched through Hong Kong, where the World Trade Organisation is meeting, to demand an end to violence against prostitutes and protest against poverty which they blame on the WTO.

Asian sex workers and concerned groups have marched through Hong Kong, where the World Trade Organisation is meeting, to demand an end to violence against prostitutes and protest against poverty which they blame on the WTO.

Some 50 activists and sex workers from countries including Cambodia, Thailand and China said globalisation has forced women into prostitution where they suffer regular physical abuse from clients and police and face discrimination in society.

Chanting "Sex Work is Work", "No Violence", "No Discrimination against Sex Workers" and "No Poverty", the protesters -in colourful face masks to conceal their identity and red scarves symbolising power and unity -marched to the Hong Kong police headquarters to the beat of drums.

"Globalisation has resulted in job losses among farmers and workers and the fall of salaries," said Sou Sotheavg, team leader of Women Network for Unity in Cambodia.

"Many women aren't able to survive because of poverty and are forced into prostitution. Rich countries exploit poor countries like us. We've come to protest against the WTO," said Sotheavg.

The activists said the number of people who are forced to join the sex industry is increasing and many of them are emigrants.

Thousands of prostitutes are killed worldwide every year, they said, including more than 500 each year in China.

The protesters handed in a petition urging police forces worldwide to stop using violence against sex workers and criticising authorities for failing to protect them.

"We are sex workers but also human beings. We are asking them to stop using violence against sex workers," Sotheavg said.

AFP - Link to full article