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Expanded Record  (Item 6 of 60 from Meeting Abstracts)
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Sex work and mobility in Cambodia: implications for HIV/AIDS interventions.

White JL, Sidedine L, Mealea K, Sokhom H, Crabbe F; International Conference on AIDS (15th : 2004 : Bangkok, Thailand).

Int Conf AIDS. 2004 Jul 11-16;15:abstract no. D11725.

Center for Advanced Study, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Background: Commercial sex contributes significantly to HIV transmission in Cambodia. While government and its partners have established interventions for female sex workers, many factors driving the sex industry are unknown. A qualitative study explored mobility amongst sex workers to inform HIV prevention interventions. Methods: Interviews were conducted with 60 women in four cities, including brothel-based workers, bar and karaoke girls. NGO staff facilitated contact with interviewees. Results: Respondents ranged from 18 to 42 years of age. Most had been highly mobile and engaged in various forms of work prior to entering prostitution. Many began selling sex of their own volition. A key factor driving young women's entrance into the industry was the sale of their virginity. Some reported being propositioned by older men about selling their virginity and/or sex while working at catering or entertainment establishments. Respondents moved regularly both between establishments and types of sex work. Temporary movement out of the industry in response to new livelihood opportunities was common. Although many moved frequently between workplaces, some reported remaining at the same establishment for over two years, due to debts to their employer or satisfaction with their situation. A distinction between voluntary and involuntary mobility was identified, the former often driven by dissatisfaction with conditions and the need to seek out cash loans, the latter often resulting from the sale of trafficked or indebted women between brothels. Women over 35 were found to work in less visible locations, catering to poorer clients. Conclusions: Findings suggest that usual epidemiological and programmatic distinctions between brothel-based and other categories of sex worker are artificial. Young working women, especially those in entertainment establishments, should be a prime target group for HIV prevention, preferably before they start selling sex. Older sex workers require special attention as they are less visible and unlikely to be targeted by sexual health interventions.

Publication Types:

  • Meeting Abstracts


  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
  • Adolescent
  • Cambodia
  • Coitus
  • Female
  • HIV Infections
  • HIV Seropositivity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty
  • Prostitution
  • Sex Workers
  • Sexual Abstinence
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Partners
  • Young Adult
  • transmission

Other ID:

  • GWAIDS0033858

General Notes:

  • Meeting held in: Thailand

NLM Unique ID: 9870004
UI: 102278074
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Last Updated: May 20, 2014