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Tajik Police Declare War on Sex Trade
Tajik interior minister Ramazon Rahimzoda has ordered a full-scale war on people trafficking and prostitution, but the 500 people detained so far have sex workers rather than organised criminals.
In the capital Dushanbe, street prostitutes are typically from other parts of the country and say they have few other options open to them. In this Muslim society, prostitution is rarely discussed openly.
When sex workers are arrested, they are fined about 80 US dollars, their names are noted down and they are generally released. In the latest raids, police have also sent their detainees to be tested for venereal diseases.
Tatyana Khatyukhin, who heads the Human Rights Centre’s branch in the northern Soghd province, argues that free, non-judgemental health checks should be made available for sex workers and their clients.
Mehrangez Tursunzoda is an IWPR contributor in Tajikistan.
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