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“We have the right not to be ‘rescued’…”*: When Anti-Trafficking Programmes Undermine the Health and Well-Being of Sex Workers by Aziza Ahmed

This paper highlights the impact of raid, rescue, and rehabilitation schemes on HIV programmes. It uses a case study of Veshya Anyay Mukti Parishad (VAMP), a sex workers collective in Sangli, India, to explore the impact of anti-trafficking efforts on HIV prevention programmes. The paper begins with an overview of the anti-trafficking movement emerging out of the United States. This U.S. based antitrafficking movement works in partnership with domestic Indian antitrafficking organisations to raid brothels to “rescue and rehabilitate” sex workers. Contrary to the purported goal of assisting women, the anti-trafficking projects that employ a raid, rescue, and rehabilitate model often undermine HIV projects at the local level, in turn causing  harm to women and girls. We examine the experience of one peer educator in Sangli to demonstrate and highlight some of the negative consequences of these anti-trafficking efforts on HIV prevention programmes.

With Meena Seshu

We Have the Right

Related posts:

  1. “Why anti-john laws don’t work” by Lisa Kelly
  2. Rescuing Trafficking from Ideological Capture: Prostitution Reform and Anti-Trafficking Law and Policy by Janie Chuang
  3. Protecting HIV-positive women’s human rights: recommendations for the United States National HIV/AIDS Strategy by Aziza Ahmed with Catherine Hanssens and Brook Kelly
  4. HIV and Women: Incongruent Policies, Criminal Consequences by Aziza Ahmed
  5. Feminism, Power, and Sex Work in the Context of HIV/AIDS: Consequences for Women’s Health by Aziza Ahmed