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This study aimed to prostitution formative knowledge regarding HIV risks in female migrant sex workers in Moscow, focusing on gender and power. This was a legal ethnographic study, informed by the theory of gender and power, in which we conducted minimally structured interviews with 24 female sex workers who were migrants to Moscow and who provided sexual services to male migrant laborers. Overall, the female migrant sex workers engaged in HIV risk behaviors and practiced inadequate HIV protection with their clients. These behaviors were shaped by gender and power factors in the realms of labor, behavior, and cathexis. In the labor realm, because some female migrants were unable to earn enough money to support their families, they were pushed or pulled into sex work providing moscow to male migrants. In the cathexis realm, many had a sense of shame, social isolation, emotional distress, and lacked basic HIV knowledge and prevention skills.

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Prostitution, sex abuse and rape in russia

Sex workers are one of the most marginalised groups in Russia today. It appears unlikely this will happen any time soon with the church continuing to wield ificant influence over political policy and public opinion, and the recent lack of change to civil law offences for sex work.

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As with many other minority groups, such as the LGBTI community, sex workers have been demonised by the clergy. The Week with IPS. Your contribution will make a huge difference. A church in Moscow.

Prostitution in russia

In another case, a man filmed the robbery and rape of a sex worker in Ufa and forced his victim on camera to say that she was a prostitute as he was sure this would guarantee his impunity. Pictures for this story This story includes downloadable print-quality images -- Copyright IPS, to be used exclusively with this story.

Make a Difference. The Russian capital, Moscow.

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International rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watchhave repeatedly highlighted the effects of criminalisation of sex work. The epidemic has been driven largely by injection drug use but HIV is increasingly transmitted sexually and sex workers have been identified as particularly vulnerable.

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All rights reserved. Meanwhile, Russians sex workers continue to call for decriminalisation, although, Avramenko argues, it will only help to a certain extent.

Amnesty international highlights russia's prostitution problem

The calls were ignored and relevant articles in the current code on sex work will remain in the new code. Some sex workers also recount horrific incidents they know of colleagues gang-raped by police, or held for days at police stations and beaten and starved. Republish Print. Politicians also often publicly speak of sex workers in derogative or sometimes violently hostile terms.

Female migrant sex workers in moscow: gender and power factors and hiv risk

There have also been reported incidents of the children of sex workers being refused access to higher education or employment in the public sector after these records have been found. This story includes downloadable print-quality images -- Copyright IPS, to be used exclusively with this story. Sex workers in the country say although public opinion about their work is shifting, they still face marginalisation and criminalisation.

Sex workers having greater guarantees of protection from violence, being able to file complaints with the police without obstacles, and rapists being punished to the fullest extent of the law will lead to positive health outcomes in the long run. This means that the perpetrators of the crimes against them know they can act with impunity, while police can also abuse, extort or physically and sexually assault them with equal impunity. And, even if they do, these are rarely, or poorly investigated.

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Indeed, this is often the case in Russia. According to Maron, out of cases where sex workers ended up in court under Administrative Code offences, only two were represented by lawyers in their hearings.

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She added decriminalisation needed to be accompanied by greater public awareness of sex work and its benefits for society as well as rooting out police corruption. This is down in part to the influence of the Orthodox Church, which has grown in popularity in the decades since the fall of communism, on society and government policy. Because of this, sex workers seldom report crimes to police.

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International rights and health organisations have also warned of the serious health threat posed by marginalisation of certain groups in society, including sex-workers. During its drafting phase Russian rights organisations and sex worker groups campaigned to have penalties for sex work stripped from the new version of the code.

Ensuring russia’s sex workers’ rights essential for wider gender equality

The fines are officially recorded in an Interior Ministry database and employers running background checks on job applicants will often reject those they see have fines for sex work. They point out it often leaves sex workers with no protection from police, unable to report crimes against them during their work for fear of getting a criminal record, or having their earnings confiscated or their work reported to others. He was eventually convicted but was sentenced to just over two years in jail and released immediately because he had already served that time in prison awaiting trial.

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Maron said that for activists like her there was little they could do than carry on their work. Sex workers also struggle to access lawyers. But stigma and fear of their work being exposed mean sex workers struggle to access proper healthcare.

Their work does seem to be having some effect though, as the change in media reporting and surveys showing a more positive public attitude to sex work suggest.

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