The Cambodian government’s crackdown on human trafficking and sexual exploitation could reverse the progress made in curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS, as sex workers fleeing the police have been unable to access health services. Legislation against human trafficking, introduced in March 2008, also covers formal locations such as brothels, so police implementing the new laws have also targeted sex workers, who are now forced to ply their trade on the street, in bars and informal karaoke bars. Cambodia’s HIV prevalence declined from 3.7 percent in 1997 to 0.9 percent in 2005, but this progress is now being threatened. (IRIN)

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