Aziza Ahmed

Document Type



This paper examines the involvement of feminists in approaches to sex work in the context of HIV/AIDS. The paper focuses on two moments where feminist disagreement produced results in favor of an "anti-trafficking" approach to addressing the vulnerability of sex workers in the context of HIV. The first is the UNAIDS Guidance Note on Sex Work and the second is the "anti-prostitution pledge" found in the Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. This article also examines the anti-sex work position articulated by abolitionist feminists and demonstrates the unintended consequences of the abolitionist position on women's health. By examining the actual impact of abolitionist positions, in favor of the anti-prostitution pledge and the criminalization of clients, we see that there are negative consequences for women despite the desire by abolitionists to improve women's health.

Date of Authorship for this Version



Feminism, Women, Prostitution, HIV (Viruses), AIDS (Disease), feminism, sex work, health, trafficking, PEPFAR, Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Women

Original Citation

Originally published in Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, Vol. 34, No. 1, pp. 225-258, Winter 2011.