15 May 2009

Sex workers' group renews call for decriminalisation in PNG

7:38 am on 15 May 2009

The sex workers group Scarlett Alliance is renewing its call for the decriminalisation of prostitution in Papau New Guinea.

The call follows the death of one worker allegedly at the hands of police last Friday.

Morobe's deputy provincial administrator says a group of sex workers were attending a church meeting when they were confronted by police.

Patilias Gamato is calling for a thorough investigation into police handling of the incident, in which he says both sex workers and a Nazureen pastor were beaten.

Tamsin Baker of Scarlett Alliance works with the organisation representing sex workers in PNG, Friends Frangipani.

She says nearly all sex workers there report being raped or beaten by police and officers need more training in dealing with marginalised communities.

"It's constantly reported to us, episodes of violence from the police, and I suppose that points to the difficulties with the effects of a legislative framework that really creates a role for police to assert their authority over sex workers and police them and creates a role for kind of abuse of power."