INTERSECTION OF HIV
AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN & GIRLS
forget that the kingdom of heaven suffers violence : and the
kingdom of heaven is like a woman."
- James Joyce
Women are bartered, sold, duped and transported
for the profit of others
Life is dangerous
for those who earn a living in a world were violence haunts the
brothels and streets of the poor districts. Here many women sell
themselves for sex without choice, without rights, and without protection.
Many of them have been sold by desperately poor families into sex
slavery and trafficked across borders to a life where they become
part of the transmission cycle of HIV. Customers of these establishments,
like those traveling the trucking routes, bring HIV into the brothels
and/or take the disease home with them. In these brothels, violence
is a constant presence.
and girls, including virgins, are treated as commodities and are
unprotected from brutality. Most of these prostitutes have little
awareness about AIDS or about hygiene and health. Many of them begin
their indentureship when very young and have no idea of HIV symptoms
or how to get care. Many, particularly those who have been trafficked
from other countries, are undocumented and so cannot get medical
care for either the violence they suffer or HIV.