Forced Eviction of Indian Commercial Sex Workers Increases HIV Risk, Human Rights Watch Says
The forced eviction of thousands of commercial sex workers in the Indian state of Goa will "drastically harm" efforts to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to an Indian state official on Tuesday, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 7/6). HRW on Tuesday sent a letter to the Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar requesting assistance in finding adequate housing for displaced residents and facilitating the reorganization of HIV/AIDS programs in the region, according to an HRW release (HRW release, 7/7). State authorities in the community of Baina, Goa, destroyed about 250 homes of commercial sex workers and about 800 homes of other residents. Goa authorities also arrested 22 people for protesting against the eviction, according to AFP/Yahoo! News (AFP/Yahoo! News, 7/6). The eviction occurred during the region's monsoon season, and many displaced residents remain without homes, according to HRW. Joanne Csete, director of the HRW HIV/AIDS & Human Rights program, said, "The Baina sex workers had a well-known record of working to promote condom use in the community as well as among their clients," adding, "Now that the sex workers are dispersed and unable to work together on HIV prevention, the whole community is at greater risk for HIV." The Baina-based organization Forum for Justice filed a "petition for redress" with the High Court in Mumbai, India, asking for assistance for displaced residents. A hearing has been set for July 10, according to HRW (HRW release, 7/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.