Khan wants laws to protect sex workers

Published: February 5, 2015

Miranda La Rose
Original Article:

The challenge ahead to end discrimination and stigma against the HIV-vulnerable group of sex workers, men who have sex with men and drug users, requires enactment of new legislation says Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan.

“In future, legislation will be enacted, hopefully, to make legal, these entities and behaviours,” he said.

Delivering the main address yesterday at the opening of a two-day Caribbean region High Level Government and Civil Society Meeting at the Normandie Hotel, St Ann’s, Khan urged the meeting to advise ministries of health in what direction to go “without treading on too many corns.”

The meeting was organised by the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition (CVC) with support from Pan Caribbean Partnership against HIV/AIDS and the Centre De Orientacion e Investigacion Integral.

Legislation for the groups targeted at the meeting, Khan said, “were not really looked at in depth” in TT.

“Things such as these,” he said, “need to be done carefully, and with the consent of a large group of the population.”

The HIV-vulnerable groups targeted, Khan said, may be considered illegal by Trinidad and Tobago legislation, but they were part of society.

Even tough legislation does not provide for their activities, Khan said all TT governments have attacked stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS by providing free anti-retroviral drugs to all citizens of TT, to control the virus. ??“We do treat a lot of sex workers, men who have sex with men, and teenaged addicts who are in the vulnerable groups. However, these groups tend to go underground,” he said, because their activities were considered illegal. They can cause the further spread of HIV, if not managed properly, he said.

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