Barcelona 2013
Barcelona 2013
Abstract book - Abstract - 485
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Conference Details
International Committee
Plenary Speakers
Presenting Speakers
Scientific Committee
Abstract #485  -  Sex Workers
  15.1: Sex Workers (Parallel) on Monday @ 14.30-16.00 in Auditorium Chaired by Tonya Thurman,
Angels Jaen

  Presenting Author:   Mr Théau Brigand - AIDES, France
  Additional Authors:  Dr Kouassi Auguste Eric Komena,  
In 2003, the French Parliament voted the prohibition of « passive soliciting », resulting in a less visible prostitution, making it more difficult for associations and other organizations to be in contact with sex workers and to gather solid knowledge about the reality of this activity today. Facing a lack of information, especially on the HIV and health issues, AIDES, a French HIV/Aids community based organization working with most-at-risks populations, conducted a study a study in the south of France, at the Spanish border.
Method / Issue:
This community-based research was conducted by AIDES activists, one of them being a sex worker. The different means used by sex workers to meet their clients in the area were listed.247 persons were identified as sex workers, 90% women, 5% transgender and 5% men. 39 of them were interviewed to gather more qualitative data.
Results / Comments:
Based on those observations and after the interviews, three standard profiles were identified. The Sedentary sex workers having prostitution as an occasional activity are women mainly between 35 and 50, and responsible for children. Facing social and economically precarious situations, prostitution is not the main source of income but an occasional solution to some punctual plight. They consider prostitution a transitional activity. Often isolated, they start this activity without advices from pairs about risks of violence. The Sedentary sex workers having prostitution as their main activity are primarily over 50, they are former street sex workers with a much more institutionalized activity. They are known to the police and pay taxes over their incomes. These two profiles present a good level of knowledge about prevention, HIV and STIs, and where to get tested. However, post-exposure treatment is not always known, even though it could be used in case of condom burst. The last standard profile is the nomadic prostitution, in the area for few days or weeks. Sex workers mainly from Eastern Europe or Latin America, they are between 20 and 35. Mostly in irregular situations and confronted to the language barrier, they have lesser access to information, tests and care; they are therefore more exposed to HIV and STIs. One worrisome fact also observed in the study, both in France and Spain, is a rising demand for condomless intercourse, severely exposing sex workers to HIV. The reason advanced being the concurrence between sex workers both on internet forums and because of new girls arriving in the area.
The study did not explain the reasons behind the arrival of new sex workers in the area. One may assume that it could be linked to the economic crisis, especially in Spain, impacting on occasional and nomadic prostitution. The financial precariousness of those persons may force them to enter prostitution; it might also reduce their negotiating capacity, increasing the exposure to HIV. The study made a solid panorama of the situation but didn?t explore the impact of the crisis in a transboundary context on prostitution and health, issues that could be investigated in a second part of the study.
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