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Violence and Exposure to HIV among sex workers in Phnom Penh

This study, conducted among a sample of 1,000 female and transgender sex workers in Phnom Penh identifies that half of those surveyed reported being beaten by police; about a third were gang-raped by police; slightly more than one-third were gang-raped by gangsters and about three-quarters were gang-raped by clients or men pretending to be clients. Most of these rapes occurred at gunpoint or with knives or other weapons.

In brothels, managers often colluded with police and favored clients to force the women into unprotected sex. In parks, police often encouraged gangsters to rape the sex workers. Both sex workers and the policemen themselves reported that these events were frequent and that victims were without any recourse to justice.

Over 90 percent of the sex workers surveyed in this sample were raped at least once last year.

Theme: 

Human Rights and Law

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