2000 – Bangladesh High Court Rules in Favour of Evicted Sex Workers

“the Bangladesh High Court ruled that the sex workers were deprived of their livelihood by being evicted from their brothels, … and that the police action was unconstitutional and illegal.”

In 1999, police evicted Bangladeshi sex workers in Tanbazar and Nimtali from their workplaces and confined them in a centre for homeless people. This was supposedly done for the purpose of “rehabilitation” of the sex workers. This action resulted in a human rights court case against the government. The case files describe a raid at night-time where, “the policemen suddenly dragged [the sex workers], abused and beat them and pushed them and their children into the waiting buses using filthy language.”

In March 2000, the Bangladesh High Court ruled that the sex workers were deprived of their livelihood by being evicted from their brothels, and that this amounted to a deprivation of the right to life. The court concluded that the police action was unconstitutional and illegal.

(See: Overs, Cheryl, and Loff, Bebe, “Toward a Legal Framework That Promotes and Protects Sex Workers’ Health and Human Rights.” Health and Human Rights Journal. Accessed November 29, 2015.)

(Case reference: Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights and Others v Government of Bangladesh and Others 53 DLR (2001) 1. – full judgement text (pdf).)