Published Feb 2, 2008

The problem of understanding women's role in the past and in contemporary Bangladesh society is compounded by the contiguous gender scenario in South Asia comprising six other countries namely: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan. While growing up in South Asia is a perpetual struggle, to be a woman in this region is to be a non-person.
The patriarchal system in Bangladesh throughout its social history has generated the character of submissive and passive women with men's power to control over women, the family, the government, both the civil and religious laws, the economy, the education, health, media and society as a whole. Against this backdrop, the situation of prostitution practices by commercial sex workers in a traditional, illiterate and Islamic bonded society like Bangladesh is much more severe and discriminated in a very unintended manner.

Like many other developing countries of the world, prostitution in Bangladesh is an urban phenomenon. It is exceedingly rare in rural areas but much more common in municipal towns and cities. Due to the rapid growth of urbanization, the situation in the towns and cities has different dimensions.

The internal migration from the country as well as overseas migration from others countries create demands for the services of the prostitute in Bangladesh. The floating sex workers are most disadvantaged among all the commercial sex workers in Bangladesh. They face a tremendous discrimination and violation of human rights after their death. In general, concomitant with the impact of urbanization are basic change in social institutions.

Again another important and alarming factor to situation analysis of prostitution in Bangladesh is HIV/AIDS. Though socio-economic and cultural barriers are hindering the overall progress of the country in many sectors including the status of health of the people, the health issues concerned with the commercial sex workers are more severe and worst among all.
The number of people living with HIV has reported 126 in Bangladesh till November 1999, 83% (104) of them are male. The rest 22 female,out of which 46% (10) are housewives infected by their husbands. The number of AIDS case is 12, and 10 person already. However, the estimated number of HIV'infKv.ons is 21,000 in Bangladesh according to WHO and four areas such as: Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet and Noakhali are identified as risk areas for HIV/AIDS in the country.

In Bangladesh, in order to address the issues of the commercial sex workers in an appropriate and befitting manner and alleviate their sufferings, both government and NGOs must come up with some specific programs in relation to social education through mass media, secure place and environment for sex workers.