In an effort to eliminate discrimination against sex workers, the government has made the decision that they will be eligible for the same social security benefits that are presently available to workers in other industries as well as to low-income people.
On Friday, Leng Mouly, president of Cambodia’s National AIDS Authority, made the announcement.
He added that research would be conducted to compile data on all sex workers in the country, both legal and illegal. He also stated that the government will be doing research in order to compile statistics on the sex workers in the country, which will include both those who are “within the system” and those who are “outside the system.”
Yesterday, the Vice-Chairman of the National AIDS Authority, Tia Phalla, stated that the sex workers who are inside the system are those who are freelancing at entertainment premises such as nightclubs and beer gardens. On the other hand, the sex workers who are outside the system are those who offer their services on their own terms, most commonly in public areas.
He further stated that employees working at the entertainment premise will be issued National Social Security Fund ID cards, allowing them to access the same government benefits as workers at other registered workplaces.
“Even if they are not full-time employees of the enterprises, they will receive the cards once their workplaces are registered with the Ministry of Commerce,” Phalla explained.
He also said that freelance sex workers will be allowed to obtain social equity cards, also known as IDpoor, which will allow them access to government assistance for individuals earning less than $2.9 per day.
“The majority of them are destitute and never stay in one place for very long,” Phalla explained. “We will be working with the civil society to identify them since they can be very hard to be traced.”
According to Phalla, there are around 51,000 sex workers in Cambodia, with approximately 3,000-4,000 working outside of the system.
Although prostitution is illegal in the Kingdom, Chou Bun Eng, permanent vice-chairwoman of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking, said that sex workers who willingly provide services to clients are not considered offenders.
“They have the same freedom to make a living and live a normal life like the rest of Cambodians,” she remarked.
Source: Khmer Times