Hong Kong: Zi Teng defends the rights of sex workers

Publish Date: 
Thursday, December 17, 2015

On the 13th International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, Zi Teng, a Hong Kong-based organization working to support sex workers, recalls the pronounced vulnerabilities of women who sell sex for their livelihood and calls for their protection.

The Statement, issued on December 17, condemned the harassment and intimidation of sex workers by police officers, clients and criminals in the context of local elections. They expressed particular concern about raids and other efforts to obstruct sex workers from working, “as if,” Zi Teng explains, “they are the dirty spot that can damage the whole society, which should be removed especially during some big events.”  According to Zi Teng, sex workers have complained of warnings issued by police officers not to work in the streets during the District Council Election and measures by police stationed near their places of work to checking the identity card of their clients. These measures constitute serious threats to the right to work, which is clearly recognized under international human rights law. 

Zi Teng also expressed serious concern about the high incidence of violence committed against sex workers who, due to discrimination they reportedly face when seeking assistance from authorities, often lack protection from physical violence committed by clients. As a result of their marginalized position, access to adequate health care, as well as housing, education and other economic social and cultural rights, continue to be significant challenges for this particularly vulnerable group of women workers in Hong Kong.  

Read Zi Teng’s public statement issued on the 13th International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, here.