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Human Rights Clinic Students Return from Fieldwork on Sex Workers’ Rights in Sangli, India

The Clinic’s project explores the different abuses of sex workers rights that have occurred in countries where 100% CUP (Condom Use Policy/Program) has been implemented. More importantly, the project is contributing to research on alternative approaches to HIV/AIDS prevention that better protect and promote sex workers’ human rights.

Clinic students interviewed the organization’s leadership; female, male, and transgendered sex workers; peer educators; outreach workers; and the children of sex workers. They also spent two days in Sangli’s Red Light district interviewing women in prostitution who live and work in brothels there.

Laura Garr explains: “SANGRAM and VAMP are remarkable examples of what community-based programs can achieve. Meeting with the sex workers in Sangli made it abundantly clear that empowerment must be the objective of any HIV/AIDS program targeting vulnerable groups. The current trend of implementing programs that fail to consult with sex workers during their creation or implementation and that have reduction of the disease in the general population as the goal exacerbate the notion that sex workers are nothing more than vectors of disease and further the existing stigma and discrimination that prevents sex workers from realizing and promoting their human rights.”

The students are now working on their final product, a policy document, which will be submitted to SANGRAM, which will then submit the document to WHO, UNFPA, and UNAIDS as a formal response to the April 2007 UN Guidance Note on HIV and Sex Work.

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Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
Fordham University School of Law
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Jeanmarie Fenrich
Director of Special Projects - Africa, Leitner Center for International Law and Justice

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