Document Type



In this invited response to the 20th anniversary of VAWA, the author examines new tensions between criminal law regimes purportedly addressing violence against women and HIV interventions. The consequences of defining all transactional sex work as violence against women include increased arrests, especially for women of color, and disincentives to use condoms for fear of providing evidence to prosecutors. The author concludes that while well-meaning, the blunt tools of the criminal law system supported by abolitionist feminists offer little to remedy the complex realities that accompany the precarious existence of many in the sex industry.

Date of Authorship for this Version



women, HIV, VAWA, sex work, trafficking

Original Citation

Aziza Ahmed, HIV, Violence Against Women, and Criminal Law Interventions, Cuny L. Rev. (Dec. 7, 2014)