Sex workers rights debate

Published: September 13, 2011

THE winners of the inter-tertiary debate competition held two weeks ago had their first experience with the AIDS forum organised by ICAAP 10.

Shanistika Shivalni and Navneet Narayan of the Fiji National University were granted an internship with UNAIDS as part of their prize.

"Being able to be part of the ICAAP debriefing was a privilege – it broadened our knowledge of the issue of AIDS in the region," said Mr Narayan, a journalism student at FNU.

Speaking on the topic – Sex-workers should be decriminalised – at the debate, the affirmative side winner advocated for the rights of sex workers in Fiji.

"Fiji opted for human rights. Human dignity is human rights," said Mr Narayan.

"It’s good for sex work in Fiji to be decriminalised because once it is accepted by the public, there will be a safe ground to practise safe sex thus combating HIV/AIDS," said Ms Shivalni, a nursing student.

According to their contribution to the debate, they said sex work was the oldest profession and it was in demand.

Ms Shivalni said if sex work was decriminalised, compulsory screening for sex workers for safety and hygiene should be implemented.

"Decriminalising sex work also has an impact on the reduction of HIVAIDS," she said.

For the HIV Decree, they believed that it should be implemented and not just on paper.

"The HIV decree should be written in such a way that it should be understood at grassroots level as well and not just educated people," said Narayan.

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