Sex workers draw attention to violence as a structural driver of HIV

20 February 2013
Alexandra Hyde

STRIVE partners led a district-level campaign last month, to raise awareness of the links between violence against sex workers and HIV in Karnataka, India.

The event, coordinated by KHPT and attended by government officials representing the departments of justice, health and social welfare, formed part of the Samvedana project. Samvedana supports women’s collective action and works to increase coordination between civil society organisations.

The campaign highlighted the interface between violence and HIV among women in sex work, their intimate partners, families of the community members and service providers. The event called for improvements in sex workers’ access to affordable, quality health, justice and social protection services free from stigma and discrimination.

Women participating in the campaign wore white ribbons to symbolize their collective action. The rally also included speeches, testimonies and the presentation of an anti-violence memorandum to the District Commissioner, which emphasised issues such as the criminalisation of sex workers and the intersection of stigma and HIV.