International

China bans ‘labour camp’ detention for sex workers

The system will cease from Dec. 29

Chinese lawmakers on Saturday voted to abolish the “custody and education” punishment system, which allowed police to hold sex workers and their clients without charge for up to two years, state media reported.

Critics say the nearly three-decade-old system has little to do with education.

“Sex workers are subjected to police violence... forced labour, compulsory testing for sexually transmitted disease... humiliation and physical violence at these centres,” said Shen Tingting, director of advocacy and policy at Asia Catalyst, an NGO working with marginalised groups in the region. Abolishing this system is a “significant positive step,” she said. The arbitrary detention system will cease from December 29, and those held at “education centers” should be released immediately, state news agency Xinhua reported.

There has been a public push to close the centres ever since China’s top legislative committee abolished its system of “re-education through labour camps” in 2013.

Shutting the labour camps — introduced as a speedy way to handle petty offenders — ended a practice long criticised by human rights groups.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 3:24:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-bans-labour-camp-detention-for-sex-workers/article30421469.ece

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