The abuses include torture, beatings, physical assaults, fines and arbitrary detentions of up to two years, as well as a failure to investigate crimes against sex workers by clients, bosses and state agents, according to the report.
Prostitution is not permitted under Chinese law, though the industry has boomed since the country launched economic reforms in 1978.
Human Rights Watch estimates that between four and six million people are engaged in sex work in China, the overwhelming majority of them women.
Sex workers are also subjected to forced HIV testing, privacy infringements and mistreatment by health officials, the report found.
“In practice, sex workers are treated as if they have no rights simply because they are sex workers,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.
Police corruption is common in China, where a lack of rule of law sometimes gives them almost unrestricted power.
In January, Xi said anti-corruption efforts should target both low-ranking “flies” and powerful “tigers”.
However, the government issued its annual white paper on human rights on Tuesday, repeating China’s standard line that it respects and protects human rights and that it considers improving living standards an important measure of this.
“After years of unremitting efforts, China has reached a higher level in terms of people’s living standards, democracy, rule of law, cultural development, social security and environmental protection,” the white paper said.
China is frequently accused by Western countries and rights groups of having a poor human rights record.Source: Reuters “Rights group urges China to repeal penalties against sex workers”
- China: Woman jailed for fighting daughter’s rape case now free (chinadailymail.com)
- HRW: Sex Workers in China Subject to Police Abuse (abcnews.go.com)
- UPDATE 1-Rights group urges China to repeal penalties against sex workers (xe.com)
- Sex workers in China subject to frequent police abuse, torture: rights group (vancouversun.com)
- Malawi sex workers get toll free line to curb Police abuse (nyasatimes.com)
- China sex workers ‘abused by police’ (arunbabyveranakunnel.wordpress.com)
- China sex workers ‘abused by police’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Sex workers in China subject to police abuse: Human Rights Watch (straitstimes.com)
- Chinese sex workers face horrifying abuse: Report (straitstimes.com)
- Sex Workers in China Subject to Police Abuse: HRW (irrawaddy.org)
- China’s anti-prostitution policies ‘lead to increase in abuse of sex workers’ (guardian.co.uk)