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INTERSECTION OF HIV AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN & GIRLS

SEXUAL TRAFFICKING AND SLAVERY

“You 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.

The women 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.