Cyclone damage forcing women into prostitution

Apr 28, 2009 (DVB), The crippling of local businesses in the Irrawaddy delta following cyclone Nargis last year has pushed increasing numbers of women into prostitution, said a resident in one of the delta's worst-hit towns.

The cyclone last May is thought to have killed 140,000 people, and affected some 2.4 million people. Almost one million acres of farmland were ruined.

A resident in Bogalay town, where upwards of 10,000 people are thought to have died following the cyclone, said that prostitution is now widespread, with sex workers operating out of guesthouses throughout the town.

"There are a lot of guest houses in town that are providing the service and most of the sex workers there are young women from nearby villages who faced financial problems [after the cyclone]," he said, speaking under condition of anonymity.

Wards three, five and six were the areas with highest concentration of brothels, he said, while pointing out that a similar situation was occurring in neighbouring Pyarpon and Kadonkani towns.

Local youths have only a little knowledge on sexually transmitted infections or how to prevent them, he added.

Reporting by Ahunt Phone Myat

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