The Greek government proceeded to the unprecedented barbarous action of pillorying (public exposure) of HIV infected women, some of who are in systematic and some in casual prostitution (many of them drug addicts), with the pretext of the protection of customers from the transmission of HIV virus, by publishing their photographs, their names and home addresses, violating thus every right for the protetion of personal data, the medical confidentiality and all the international and european treaties signed by the Greek state for the protection of HIV infected persons.

More concretely, on April 29, the police publicised, on public prosecutor´s order, the photograph and name of a 22year Russian woman, which was transmitted by all TV channels. The following days and until today, more photographs and names of women have been published, reaching the number 29. Most of the women are Greeks and many of them drug addicts. These women were arrested and are imprisoned, charged with “willing heavy bodily harm” against prostitution customers.

This act was committed in the frame of the general anti-migrant and racist crusade that preceded the elections, with the aim of enclosing the migrants without papers in concentration camps in several locations accross the country, pending deportation. The part “women in prostitution”, come to complete the previous picture, aiming to target the migrant women in prostitution as “health bombs” for the “Greek family men” as was formulated officially. It was soon revealed that the “operations of the police” ended up in the arrest of women who were Greek in their majority, with the result to annul the anti-migrant intention of the Greek authorities and the whole affair to end up in a contemporary “wich hunt” against women.

The feminist organisations have been denouncing for a long time the procurers and the customers of prostitution for forcing the women in prostitution (many of them in trafficking) to accept contact without condom, which offers greater profit for the procurers due to higher price and satisfies the senseless and dangerous demands of the customers. They have also denounced that many of the customers are underage boys, who get no information in their schools for the way of transmission of the HIV virus. And while it is the customers of prostitution, above or under age, those who demand the contact without condom, on the contrary, those who get imprisoned are the women.

The above policies, followed by the competent authorities of the country, literally trample human rights, offend human dignity and feed a culture of discrimination, but is also destructive for Public Health, since:  on the one hand it sends the wrong message to society, since the precaution is the personal responsibility of everyone of us, and on the other hand it discourages the sensitive groups to test for HIV. It leads members of those communities away from the health services, the tests and the systematic cure, which finally results in the further spread of the HIVinfection.

We also denounce that the funds for the programmes for prevention of HIV in Greece have been cut by 50% since 2009, the funds for programmes of cure from narcotics have already been cut by about 30% while the total funds for health have been cut by 50% in relation to 2009, when the imposition of the barbarous austerity measures started.

We demand the increase of the funding to the level necessary for the provision of information and education, prevention and cure in Greece, for the general population, which includes locals and immigrants, for the HIV/AIDS as well as for every other desease.

  • We demand answers on the procedure of lifting medical confidentiality and protection of personal data of those women, in violation of Greek and European legislation for the protection of  HIV positive persons, which was based on public prosecutors decree only, and did not have the consent of the Authority for protection of personal data.
  • We demand that the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) main official organisation on the area, ceases its late suppression role and its collaboration in this public exposure of the concrete women and others that may follow, targeting other sensitive social groups of the population (trans persons in prostitution).
  • We demand the immediate release of the women, their inclusion in programmes of cure, their compensation for the moral damage inflicted on them and the assistance to all those needing shelter and the cover of basic needs.
  • We demand the intervention of international organisations to the Greek government, for the immediate cessation of the pillorying of more women and the condemnation of this behaviour which is contrary to all international and European treaties that Greece has signed.

Athens, 10-5-2012

SIGNATURES (Organisations from Greece and Europe)

Feminist Initiative for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Organisation of Women “Kokkino”

Women’s Group for Self Defense

European Network of Women

Women’s Initiave against Debt and Austerity measures

European Network of Women of the European Left Party (EL FEM)

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