A new report by Australian researchers has found that a crackdown on Fiji sex workers following the introduction of the Crimes Decree is increasing their risk of getting HIV.
Sex Workers and HIV Prevention in Fiji - after the Fiji Crimes Decree 2009, released today, reveals that soldiers in Lautoka are rounding up prostitutes, humiliating and terrorising them.
One of the report's authors, Karen McMillan, of the University of New South Wales, says as economic hardship increases more people are becoming prostitutes, with estimates that the number per capita is on par with Thailand.
But she says older sex workers are being marginalised.
"These are the very people that we identified in the past as doing a lot of the HIV prevention education among peers, teaching people about the importance of condoms, distributing condoms, being involved in advocacy for services."
Karen McMillan says the result is a loss of institutional knowledge.