Co-organized by the ILO, Viet Nam Journalists Association and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA), the training aimed to bridge the gaps in current media coverage of sex work and enable journalists to produce accurate, non-bias and in-depth stories on the sensitive topic.
“This is a difficult issue not only for Viet Nam but also for many other countries in the world,” said Dr Le Thi Ha, Vice Director of MoLISA’s Department of Social Vices Prevention. “The media plays an important role in reflecting the reality and supporting those involved.”
According to MoLISA, there are about 32,000 sex workers in Viet Nam. However, the actual figure is estimated at 300,000-500,000.
Dr Khuat Thu Hong, Director of the Institute for Social Development Studies, one of the guest speakers at the workshop, said that the average age of sex workers has become younger and the majority of them are migrant workers and have little educational background.
Workers doing this job often face many violations of their rights at the workplace, including violence, health issues, tarnished dignity and being cheated by their clients.
As a result of their unsafe working conditions, sex workers are highly vulnerable to HIV infection. HIV contraction rate among female sex workers was 2.6 per cent in 2013.
“Successfully controlling HIV transmission among sex workers will benefit themselves and also the whole community and society,” said Dr Ha.
The event was part of the ILO’s One UN Plan-funded project on improving working conditions of entertainment workers as a means to strengthen HIV prevention, care and treatment programmes in Viet Nam.