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Client rape

Torika Chandra
Thursday, July 17, 2014

ONLY one per cent of sex workers feel comfortable telling the police if they had been raped by a client, the Integrated Behavioural and Biological Survey and Size Estimation of Sex Workers in Fiji: HIV Prevention Project report revealed.

The report is the first large-scale quantitative research on sex workers in Fiji. A total of 298 sex workers from seven centres around Fiji took part in the research from June 7, 2012, to August 25, 2012.

The report revealed that overall 13 per cent of sex workers reported having been raped by a client.

However, the most likely person they would confide in would be another sex worker, followed by a friend and then a sex worker organisation or peer educator.

Just 25 per cent would tell their partner, 11 per cent their family and three per cent said they would tell nightclub staff.

Just four sex workers (one per cent) said they would feel comfortable telling the police.

The report stated that in Fiji where sex work was illegal, there was no legal recourse for these sex workers, further the stigma associated with their work makes it difficult for them to confide in anyone in order to be able to receive support and assistance.

When contacted yesterday police chief operations officer ACP Rusiate Tudravu said he could not comment on the report until he read it.

"I do not have the report with me in order to give an accurate answer to that."

"One of my officers who went to the launch will table his report and then I can respond accordingly," Mr Tudravu said.

The report also revealed that access to health services was a barrier for sex workers.

It recommended that easier accessibility to health services should be improved as well as having a sex worker-friendly clinic where they could feel comfortable.

"Those are important recommendations that we are already working on with Survival Advocacy Network Fiji.

This has given us a more targeted approach of where the gaps are, and helps us address it specifically," Ministry of Health national adviser family health Dr Rachel Devi said.

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