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Background

Community mobilization is a participatory intervention strategy used among Female Sex Workers (FSW’s) to address HIV risks through behavior change and self empowerment. This study quantitatively measure and differentiate theoretically defined forms of FSW participation’s and identify their contextual associated factors.

Method

Data was derived from cross-sectional Integrated Bio Behavioral Assessment conducted among FSW’s in Andhra Pradesh (AP) (n = 3370), Maharashtra (MH) (n = 3133) and Tamil Nadu (TN) (n = 2140) of India during 2009-2010. Information’s about socio-demography, community mobilization and participation experiences were collected. Conceptual model for two contexts of mobilization entailing distinct FSW participations were defined as participation in “collective” and “public” spaces respectively. Bivariate and multiple regression analysis were used.

Result: The level of participation in “collective” and “public” spaces was lowest in MH (43.9% & 11.7% respectively), higher in TN (82.2% &22.5% respectively) and AP (64.7%&33.1%). Bivariate and multivariate regression analysis highlighted the distinct nature of “participations” through their varied associations with FSW mobilization and background status.

In MH, street FSWs showed significantly lower collective participation (36.5%) than brothel FSWs (46.8%) and street FSWs showed higher public participation (16.2%) than brothel FSWs (9.7%). In AP both collective and public participation were significantly high among street FSWs (62.7% and 34.7% respectively) than brothel FSW’s (55.2% and 25.4% respectively).

Regression analysis showed FSWs with “community identity”, were more likely to participate in public spaces in TN and AP (AOR 2.4, 1.5-3.8 & AOR 4.9, CI 2.3-10.7) respectively. FSWs with “collective identity” were more likely to participate in collective spaces in TN, MH and AP (AOR 27.2 CI 13.7-53.9; AOR 7.3, CI 3.8-14.3; AOR 5.7 CI 3-10.9 respectively). FSWs exhibiting “collective agency” were more likely to participate in public spaces in TN, MH and AP (AOR 2.3 CI 1-3.4; AOR 4.5- CI 2.6-7.8; AOR 2.2 CI 1.5-3.1) respectively.

Conclusion

Findings reveal FSWs participation as a dynamic process inherently evolving along with the community mobilization process in match with its contexts. Participation in “Collective” and Public spaces” is indicators, symbolizing FSWs passage from the disease prevention objectives towards empowerment, which would help better understand and evaluate community mobilization interventions.

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Abstract

Despite the significant emphasis given to the trafficking of Brazilians to the sex industry of the Iberian Peninsula, the concepts of “victim of trafficking for sexual exploitation” used in these three countries vary. This article analyses the positions of Brazil, Spain and Portugal regarding the conceptualisation of “trafficking victim,” focusing on their legislation and policies, as well as on relevant narratives which show how these policies are being applied. It showcases how the incompatible definitions being used compromise genuine anti-trafficking actions and may be an indicator that stopping trafficking may not be the primary concern of the policies developed by these governments.

Susann Huschke, Peter Shirlow, Dirk Schubotz, Eilís Ward, Ursula Probst and Caoimhe Ní Dhónaill, “Research into Prostitution in Northern Ireland: Commissioned from Queen’s University Belfast by the Department of Justice” (October 2014).

No abstract available. Opening text:

“At present in Northern Ireland practices related to prostitution, such as soliciting or loitering for purposes of prostitution, organising or advertising prostitution and brothel keeping (defined as more than one person selling sexual services in a given location) constitute criminal offences under the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008. This cultural and legal context has produced particularly hidden forms of prostitution with the internet becoming a major platform for advertising sexual services and setting up meetings in hotels or apartments. Despite the legal context and alternative discourses concerning prostitution in Northern Ireland there has been a paucity of research on social issues that relate to prostitution, such as migration, trafficking and the nature of prostitution.

Limited research evidence is available with regard to the size and composition of the sex worker population in Northern Ireland. It can be deduced from the few available government and NGO publications that sex workers operating in Northern Ireland include locals and people from other parts of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, as well as sex workers from Europe and from across the world, e.g. Nigeria, Colombia and Brazil. Northern Ireland, and particularly its largest city Belfast seems to be a destination for mobile sex worker. Although some sex workers may sell sex only in one place, most appear to be mobile, moving between different cities across Ireland and the UK, as well as across the continent (e.g. Spain, Italy, Germany). This generally mirrors the practice of sex workers across Europe.

While these reports and studies provide some insight into the lives of sex workers and their clients, the evidence is patchy, largely unsystematic and not as extensive as the evidence available in other parts of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. So far, reliable academic studies based on interview or survey data from those who sell and buy sexual services in Northern Ireland have generally been unavailable. However, the issue of prostitution has received considerable interest in Northern Ireland over the last year, due mainly to the proposal within Lord Morrow’s Private Member’s Bill (Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Further Provisions and Support for Victims) Bill) to criminalise paying for sexual services. This study commissioned by the Department of Justice aims to fill some of the existing research gaps by conducting a mixed methods study of prostitution in Northern Ireland.”

Full text available here.

Kimberly Page, Ellen Stein, Neth Sansothy, Jennifer Evans, Marie-Claude Couture, Keo Sichan, Melissa Cockroft, Julie Mooney-Somers, Pisith Phlong, John Kaldor, Lisa Maher, and on behalf of the Young Women’s Health Study Collaborative, John Kaldor, Serey Phal Kien, Kimberly Page, Joel M Palefsky, Vonthanak Saphonn, and Mean Chhi Vun. “Sex work and HIV in Cambodia: trajectories of risk and disease in two cohorts of high-risk young women in Phnom Penh, Cambodia” BMJ Open. 2013; 3(9): e003095

Abstract:

Objectives
HIV prevalence among Cambodian female sex workers (FSW) is among the highest in Southeast Asia. We describe HIV prevalence and associated risk exposures in FSW sampled serially in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Young Women’s Health Study (YWHS)), before and after the implementation of a new law designed to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Design
Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from two prospective cohorts.

Setting
Community-based study in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Participants
Women aged 15–29 years, reporting ≥2 sexual partners in the last month and/or engaged in transactional sex in the last 3 months, were enrolled in the studies in 2007 (N=161; YWHS-1), and 2009 (N=220; YWHS-2) following information sessions where 285 and 345 women attended.

Primary outcomes
HIV prevalence, sexual risk behaviour, amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS) and alcohol use, and work-related factors were compared in the two groups, enrolled before and after implementation of the new law.

Results
Participants in the two cohorts were similar in age (median 25 years), but YWHS-2 women reported fewer sex partners, more alcohol use and less ATS use. A higher proportion of YWHS-2 compared with YWHS-1 women worked in entertainment-based venues (68% vs 31%, respectively). HIV prevalence was significantly lower in the more recently sampled women: 9.2% (95% CI 4.5% to 13.8%) vs 23% (95% CI 16.5% to 29.7%).

Conclusions
Sex work context and risk have shifted among young FSW in Phnom Penh, following implementation of anti-prostitution and anti-trafficking laws. While both cohorts were recruited using the same eligibility criteria, more recently sampled women had lower prevalence of sexual risk and HIV infection. Women engaging more directly in transactional sex have become harder to sample and access. Future prevention research and programmes need to consider how new policies and demographic changes in FSW impact HIV transmission.

Full text available here.

Faran Emmanuel, Laura H Thompson, Uzma Athar, Momina Salim, Altaf Sonia, Naeem Akhtar and James F Blanchard, “The organisation, operational dynamics and structure of female sex work in Pakistan” Sexually Transmitted Infections 2013; 89:ii29-ii33; doi:10.1136/sextrans-2013-051062

Abstract:

BACKGROUND
Pakistan is known to have large populations of female sex workers (FSWs) with considerable geographic heterogeneity in their characteristics. In this paper, we describe the social organisation and structural patterns of female sex work in different geographic regions of Pakistan.
METHODS
We report geographic and network mapping data collected among FSWs in 15 cities across Pakistan in 2011 as part of the Canada-Pakistan HIV/AIDS Surveillance Project.
RESULTS
A total number of 89 178 FSWs were estimated in the target cities for an average of 7.2 FSWs per 1000 adult males. 55% of the estimated number of FSWs concentrated in Karachi and Lahore. Based on the operations of female sex work, two major typologies of FSWs were identified: establishment-based and non-establishment-based. FSWs were further subtyped into those operating through brothels, homes, kothikhanas, streets and by cell phone. Cities varied considerably in terms of predominance of different FSW typologies.
CONCLUSIONS
There is considerable heterogeneity among FSWs in Pakistan, geographically and in terms of operational typology. Understanding the social organisation of sex work and the influence of social-cultural and legal factors in Pakistan is essential for the design of HIV prevention programmes and other services for FSWs.

Full text available here.

Richter, Marlise; Luchters, Stanley; Ndlovu, Dudu; et.al.: Female sex work and international sport events – no major changes in demand or supply of paid sex during the 2010 Soccer World Cup: a cross-sectional study, in: BMC Public Health 12 (1), September 2012, S. 763.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background

Important unanswered questions remain on the impact of international sporting events on the sex industry. Speculation about increased demand and supply of sex work often generates significant attention, but also additional funding for HIV programmes. This study assessed whether changes occurred in the demand and supply of paid sex during the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa.

Methods

Trained sex worker interviewers conducted face-to-face semi-structured interviews among consenting female sex workers during May-September 2010. Using bivariate analyses we compared supply, demand, sexual risk-taking, and police and health services contact pre-World Cup, to levels during the World Cup and after the event.

Results

No increases were detected in indicators of sex work supply, including the proportion of sex workers newly arrived in the city (< 2.5% in each phase) or those recently entering the trade (≤ 1.5%). Similarly, demand for sex work, indicated by median number of clients (around 12 per week) and amount charged per transaction ($13) remained similar in the three study periods. Only a third of participants reported observing any change in the sex industry ascribed to the World Cup. Self-reported condom-use with clients remained high across all samples (> 92.4% in all phases). Health-care utilisation decreased non-significantly from the pre- to during World Cup period (62.4% to 57.0%; P = 0.075). Across all periods, about thirty percent of participants had interacted with police in the preceding month, two thirds of whom had negative interactions.

Conclusions

Contrary to public opinion, no major increases were detected in the demand or supply of paid sex during the World Cup. Although the study design employed was unable to select population-based samples, these findings do not support the public concern and media speculation prior to the event, but rather signal a missed opportunity for public health action. Given the media attention on sex work, future sporting events offer strategic opportunities to implement services for sex workers and their clients, especially as health service utilisation might decrease in this period. Read More

Frances M. Shaver, “Sex Work Research: Methodological and Ethical Challenges” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, March 2005, vol. 20 no. 3, pp. 296-319

Abstract:

The challenges involved in the design of ethical, nonexploitative research projects with sex workers or any other marginalized population are significant. First, the size and boundaries of the population are unknown, making it extremely difficult to get a representative sample. Second, because membership in hidden populations often involves stigmatized or illegal behavior, concerns regarding privacy and confidentiality are paramount and difficult to resolve. In addition, they often result in challenges to the validity of the data. Third, in spite of evidence to the contrary, associations between sex work and victimization are still strong, dichotomies remain prevalent, and sex workers are often represented as a homogeneous population. Drawing on three research projects in which the author has been involved—all grounded in a sex-as-work approach—as well as the work of others, this article provides several strategies for overcoming these challenges. Clear guidelines for ethical, nonexploitive methodologies are embedded in the solutions provided.

Full text available here.