VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN / October 2004
implementation, or ethics. Public health educators may negotiate with pimps to ensure that they will be able to enter brothels to dis- tribute condoms to women and even to children in prostitution. Sometimes deals are made, for example in Kerala State, India, where social workers had to obtain permission from brothel pimps to hand out condoms. In exchange, the social workers agreed to ignore the presence of prostituted children and not to advocate escape from prostitution by informing the women about available services (Friedman, 1996).
Bargaining with brothel owners and pimps also occurred at the Calcutta-based Sonagachi Project. Jana, Bandyopadhyay, Saha, and Dutta (1999) explained that in the Sonagachi Project,
Prostitution was accepted as a valid profession and no attempt was made at discouraging sex workers to practice prostitution or at res- cuing or rehabilitating them. This reassured the other stakeholders in the sex trade that we outsiders were not going to disrupt their business. (p. 23)
An alliance between pimps and others who use HIV education monies to promote prostitution is also clear in the case of Cal-PEP. By 1993, Cal-PEP had received US$1.6 million in state and federal grants to work on AIDS prevention among prostitutes. The founder of Cal-PEP was a member of COYOTE, a U.S. organiza- tion promoting decriminalization of prostitution. Furthermore, the agency was directed by the founder’s former pimp who had a felony conviction for running an interstate prostitution business (Marinucci & Williams, 1993). This Oakland, California, project continued to receive state HIV-prevention funding in 2003.
Although it provides comprehensive health and HIV- prevention services, the Tan Bazar brothel in Bangladesh is in reality a prison encampment. The Tan Bazar brothel advertises the following services for prostitutes in a clinic attached to the brothel: contraceptives, counseling, condoms, STD/HIV treat- ment, abortion, antenatal and postnatal checkups, infertility care, gynecological care, and treatment of minor ailments. A children’s clinic is included (Ahmed, 2001). This huge brothel, the largest in Bangladesh, locked women and their children inside and essen- tially functioned as a prison for poor women in prostitution. They lived most of their lives in the brothel, constantly available for purchase but out of public view.