By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Several Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in collaboration with stakeholders within the local sex industry on Wednesday (January 29) reiterated calls for the legalization of prostitution and regularization of sex work locally.
There was much talk of how the absence of laws to protect these persons has allowed an abundance of injustices, abuse and discrimination to occur without any proper form of redress that can be sought.
Only recently allegations were leveled against three law enforcement officers accused of sodomizing and abusing a male sex worker.
Several other stories of these cases were also told at the press conference on Wednesday. According to Executive Director of Youth Challenge Guyana, Demitry Nicholson and Nassir Husain of NAPS, clients in most cases pay for one service and because they are fully aware of the lack of protection, have gone to lengths to abuse these individuals for services they never paid for or are unwilling to.
Currently, Youth Challenge Guyana is working along with other NGO’s and groups to push and convince policy makers to make prostitution legal so that those plying the trade can be protected.
Nicholson noted that they are also working to educate sex workers how to manage their finances to better provide for themselves and families.
When questioned about sex workers paying taxes, he also lamented the lack of a regularized structure and posited that if such was in place, then the possibility of sex workers paying taxes could be realized.
Meanwhile, Co-Chair of SASOD (Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination) Joel Simpson said if the sex industry is not regularize, then the risk at which commercial sex workers are exposed will remain and in some instance increase.
He too pointed to the constant abuse that Prostitutes are often made to endure and the further discrimination suffered when such cases are reported to the police.
He is proposing that particular times, zones and signals be implemented that will conform to the Guyana culture for prostitutes.
“Regulating the sector will make sex workers safe from impiety and abuse from law enforcement officers,” Simpson believes.
Recently, the Guyana Sex Worker Coalition aired its grievances in relation to the rights of Sex Workers and their right to access social and medical services.
According to Co – Chair of the Organization, Carcey Fernandes, the level of discrimination against Sex Workers when accessing social and medical services in Guyana is on the increase. He said concerns in relation to breaches of confidentiality when accessing these services has also increased.