Evicted sex workers in Dhaka refused healthcare

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The late-August attack on the Madaripur red light district in Dhaka, Bangladesh, made up to five hundred sex workers homeless and destroyed their workplaces. It has now emerged that sex workers were refused vital hospital treatment in the aftermath of the attacks.

Speaking anonymously to the Dhaka Tribune, one sex worker said that she had sustained severe head injuries, adding, "I did not get any treatment for the injury from hospitals or anywhere else". She reported that thirty to forty other sex workers suffered similar injuries.

Another sex worker, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “When we went to the Madaripur Sadar Hospital, the authorities turned us out ... I have been starving for the past four days".

Mahmuda Akhter, district Women Affairs Officer, whose job it is to investigate the attack, was alleged to have "joined hands with the attackers".  She has been reported as stating, “I am with the majority. No one wants a brothel in the city centre.”

This highlights the way that stigma and a criminalised legal context fosters violence against sex workers, and the devastating exclusion of sex workers from access to vital services, including both justice and emergency healthcare.

You can read further coverage of this case in this the Dhaka Tribune.