The calls were made at a discussion titled “Towards a better legal policy environment to protect sex workers in Bangladesh” held at the National Press Club.
The programme was jointly organised by HIV/AIDS and STD alliance Bangladesh (HASAB), the Sex Workers Network (SWN) and Manusher Jonno Foundation.
The major aim of the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking (PSHT) Act 2012 is to protect trafficking victims and to punish offenders. However, the issue of sex workers who willingly come to the profession is overlooked, said advocate Fawzia Karim Firoze while presenting her key-note paper.
Dhaka University Law’s Professor Shahnaz Huda said: “The PSHT Act declares that all sites [brothels] are criminal dens. Any people related to the brothels are under the same penalty.
“Therefore, a household member of a brothel and the trafficker are both penalised under the act for a single crime, which in most cases is not correct.”