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Upcoming events and current media coverage relating to sex work and sex workers.

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BANGKOK — Thailand and New Zealand sound like the best places for prostitutes in Asia and the South Pacific, because they don’t face the repressive laws that exist in the rest of the region, according to a new U.N. report that calls for the decriminalization of the voluntary sex trade.

The worst countries to be caught possessing a condom while appearing to work as a prostitute include China, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

In those countries, an unused condom can be used as evidence that a person is an illegal sex worker.

Renting bodies for money in Asia also involves niche demographics.

On the Indian subcontinent, for example, so-called “flying” sex workers are people, such as students, who work part time.

Police arrested 50 ladyboys and prostitutes in a late-night sweep along Beach Road. The arrests were meant to serve as a warning to the sex workers not to commit crimes against tourists. Each sex worker was fined 100 baht and released.

PATTAYA, a police sweep of sex workers in the Beach Road area was announced by Pattaya police from the Muang Pattaya Chonburi station.

Police officers and volunteer police had arrested more than 50 ladyboys and prostitutes. Nearly all of them had previous arrest records. After arresting them, police asked each one for updated information to log in their files.

Each person was charged with soliciting prostitution in a public area and fined 100 baht. They were given a warning before being released not to commit any crimes against tourists.

Police said these periodic arrests are a preventive measure meant to prevent crimes against tourists, and to create a good image of Pattaya for tourists who visit Pattaya Beach at night.

In a Bangkok go-go bar, a prostitute in a transparent miniskirt who goes by the name “Joy” said she’s ready to benefit from one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs in the 30-year fight against AIDS.

The 23-year-old sex worker says she’d like the chance to use Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD) (GILD)’s pill Truvada to help protect her from becoming one of the 530,000 people in Thailand with HIV.

“I am scared,” she said, during a break at the bar. “I want to find a husband. If it works, I’ll take it.”

Truvada, a staple of treatment for patients with HIV, was approved today in the U.S. to lessen the risk of infection in healthy people by as much as 94 percent when taken regularly. As researchers struggle to develop an AIDS vaccine, having a daily pill to block the virus could be a crucial interim step to rein in the disease. Yet rather than celebrating Truvada’s effectiveness, global health planners are now facing a difficult moment of soul searching over how to allocate limited resources.

“On the surface it’s something amazing, you can prevent HIV with a pill,” said Kevin Robert Frost, chief executive officer of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. “But then you start to dig deeper and it gets really complicated. When I get to the question of who pays for this I am completely dumbfounded. In developing countries, most of them can’t afford to give pills to those who are HIV positive.”

A Kambah woman has been found guilty of possessing a Thai sex worker as a slave.

A guilty verdict was returned on all charges against 45-year-old Watcharaporn Nantahkhum, including intentionally possessing a slave, attempting to pervert the course of justice and four offences under the Migration Act.

The jury reached the verdict after hearing eight days of evidence and submissions.

The verdict, barring any appeal, brings to a close the first slavery prosecution heard in a Canberra court. It is also the first time the Migration Act offences have been contested in an Australian court.

Nantahkhum now faces a 25 year jail sentence on the slavery charge. Justice Richard Refshauge has revoked the woman's bail after the crown raised fears she would go on the run in the face of a looming prison sentence.

A second Thai woman has told a jury an alleged brothel madam encouraged her to stay in Australia illegally and keep working as a prostitute after her tourist visa expired.

But she admitted she chose to stay in Australia as an unlawful non-citizen to make more money.

The woman, who cannot be named, gave evidence yesterday in the ACT Supreme Court trial of Watcharaporn Nantahkhum.

The 45-year-old Kambah woman has pleaded not guilty to possessing a slave, perverting the course of justice and four offences under the federal Migration Act.

The charges relate to two Thai women who travelled separately to Australia in mid-2007 and then worked in the sex industry.

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