National AIDS Commission (NAC) said capacity building to commercial sex workers could help them understand their human rights and be able to demand services which they have been denied for so long.
NAC HIV Prevention Officer, Dominic Likongwe said this in Rumphi during District HIV/AIDS Coordinating Committee (DACC) meeting on Wednesday.
He explained that to ensure sex workers understand their human rights and have access to health services they need to be oriented.
Likongwe said this will provide them with necessary knowledge to overcome the challenges they face in course of their work.
“Most commercial sex workers are vulnerable to the contraction and spread of HIV and AIDS due to the nature of their work. They are neglected and the communities believe that their work is associated with criminal activities,” he observed.
Likongwe said the rights of these sex workers are violated in one way or the other and little has been done to assist them to know their rights and defend themselves as well.
He told DACC members NAC will open up established structures among the commercial sex workers in hotspot areas to be identified that will help to unveil the problems commercial sex workers face in districts across the country.
According to the NAC official, the established structures will assist in reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS among commercial sex workers, their clients, as well as the community at large.
Victim Support Unit Coordinator for Rumphi Police Station, Tumalene Tibu said commercial sex is not illegal, but has some aspects which are associated with criminal activities.
She pointed out that if it is connected to criminal activities arrest could be effected to the commercial sex workers.
“Commercial sex work on its own is not a crime, but is sometimes associated with some criminal activities. These may include clients beating sex workers and sex workers robbing their clients of their money,” Tibu added.
NAC, together with its partners, are implementing a program that is aimed at safe-guarding human rights of various types of workers and enhance their access to health services in all the districts in the country.
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