The Risk Environment for Commercial Sex Work in China: Considering the Role of Law and Law Enforcement Practices

Gender Policy and HIV in China, Forthcoming

16 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2007  

Scott Burris

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Gou Mei Xia

Shanghai University

Abstract

Laws and law enforcement practices influence the risk environment for commercial sex workers in China. Law is also a prime potential mode of structural intervention. In China, evidence indicates commercial sex workers as a group are an important segment of the emerging Chinese HIV epidemic. China is undergoing a dramatic economic transition characterized by growing and extreme inequality in the population. This is influencing the growth of the sex industry as a site of economic activity by poorer people, particularly rural women. Sex worker behavior is also influenced by laws and law enforcement practices. Corruption among law enforcement officials, the system for funding law enforcement, and the limited protection of human rights, all have the potential to create a more dangerous environment for sex workers in relation to HIV and STDs. Despite intensive law enforcement action and considerable expense, the state has not achieved the goal of eliminating prostitution. The commercial sex trade has not been forbidden just informally regulated. Police practices are, to some extent, independent of the written laws concerning prostitution. Ethnographic data are reviewed and recommendations are offered for further research.

Keywords: prostitution, HIV, police, criminal law

Suggested Citation

Burris, Scott and Mei Xia, Gou, The Risk Environment for Commercial Sex Work in China: Considering the Role of Law and Law Enforcement Practices. Gender Policy and HIV in China, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=971969

Scott C. Burris (Contact Author)

Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215-204-6576 (Phone)
215-204-1185 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.phlr.org

Gou Mei Xia

Shanghai University ( email )

149 Yanchang Road
SHANGDA ROAD 99
Shanghai 200072, SHANGHAI 200444
China

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