Most LGBT street children and adolescents in Vietnam are engaged in the sex trade and are alone in protecting themselves from get infected with sexually transmitted diseases, according to a research.
The Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment (iSee) and Save the Chldren International (SCI) released a joint study on LGBT street children and adolescents in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday (31 May), revealing their poor everyday lives.
The research shows that parental objection regarding gender and sexual identity is the main factor pushing children to leave home.
They then lead lives full of hazards including irregular meals and sleeping places, threats of violence and harassment, and for many potential dangers of HIV and other STDs, according to Dr Nguyen Thu Nam of iSee.
Respondents have at one time or another experienced discrimination from neighbours and passers-by and have no chance of proper employment. Some report instances of psychological abuse, which has led to suicide attempts, drug abuse and self mutilation.
Bisexual adolescent Tran Lan Anh (pseudonym) told Viet Nam News that she has to move from one place to another with five lesbians on a daily basis with no money for a permanent residence and they find it difficult just to get enough food.
‘When I applied for manual jobs, the employers refused to hire me and used impolite words, reasoning that because I am not a normal person, I will steal their money,’ said Lan Anh, who now works as a sex worker.
Lan Anh says she was beaten and verbally abused by her parents every day when they learnt of her lesbian relationship. She left home at the age of 13.
In response, government authorities have highlighted the need to conduct research on a larger scale to devise comprehensive support policies to minimize the risks facing these LGBT children.
Non-governmental organization Centre for Studies and Applied Science for Gender, Family, Women and Adolescents, meanwhile, plans to provide training and jobs for LGBT street children and adolescents in beauty services and fashion.
While many of the LGBT kids are forced to live on the street, the difficulty for seeking partners have driven others to become prostitutes just to satisfy their sexual desire or seek suitable partners.
There are so-called ‘love markets’ in some cities for gays to seek partners, but some are reported to have been robbed, beaten or even killed there, according to VietNamNet.
In a survey of 831 gays last year by the STDs/HIV/AIDS Prevention Center (SHAPC), up to 37 percent of respondents prostituted themselves and one third were clients at ‘love markets’ for gays. They had sex with four partners a month on average.