The health of female sex workers form the three industry sectors in Queensland, Australia

Seib, Charlotte, Fischer, Jane and Najman, Jackob M. (2009) The health of female sex workers form the three industry sectors in Queensland, Australia. Social Science and Medicine, 68 3: 473-478. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.10.024

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Author Seib, Charlotte
Fischer, Jane
Najman, Jackob M.
Title The health of female sex workers form the three industry sectors in Queensland, Australia
Journal name Social Science and Medicine   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0277-9536
1873-5347
Publication date 2009-02-01
Year available 2008
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.10.024
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 68
Issue 3
Start page 473
End page 478
Total pages 6
Editor E. Annandale
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon
Language eng
Subject C1
920505 Occupational Health
920507 Women's Health
111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety
111712 Health Promotion
Abstract Previous studies have reported poor mental health amongst sex workers without distinguishing the context in which commercial sex is provided. This study describes the self-reported mental and physical health of female sex workers in three industry sectors in Queensland, Australia. In 2003, cross-sectional convenience sampling was used to collect data from 247 female sex workers working in licensed brothels (n = 102), as private sole operators (n = 103) and illegally (n = 42). The average age was 32 years (range 18-57), with most participants being born either in Australia or New Zealand. Overall, there were few differences in the physical health of women from different industry sectors. Illegal (and predominantly street-based) sex workers were four times more likely to report poor mental health with some of this difference attributable to the particular social background of this group. Much of the increased levels of poor mental health among illegal sex workers were associated with more negative experiences before, and subsequent to entering the sex industry. These patterns were not seen among women from the legal industry sectors. This research suggests that illegal, street-based sex workers, from whom many previous results have been derived, may show patterns of disadvantage, and health outcomes not seen in sex workers from other industry sectors. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Formatted abstract
Previous studies have reported poor mental health amongst sex workers without distinguishing the context in which commercial sex is provided. This study describes the self-reported mental and physical health of female sex workers in three industry sectors in Queensland, Australia. In 2003, cross-sectional convenience sampling was used to collect data from 247 female sex workers working in licensed brothels (n = 102), as private sole operators (n = 103) and illegally (n = 42). The average age was 32 years (range 18-57), with most participants being born either in Australia or New Zealand. Overall, there were few differences in the physical health of women from different industry sectors. Illegal (and predominantly street-based) sex workers were four times more likely to report poor mental health with some of this difference attributable to the particular social background of this group. Much of the increased levels of poor mental health among illegal sex workers were associated with more negative experiences before, and subsequent to entering the sex industry. These patterns were not seen among women from the legal industry sectors. This research suggests that illegal, street-based sex workers, from whom many previous results have been derived, may show patterns of disadvantage, and health outcomes not seen in sex workers from other industry sectors.
Keyword Australia
Women
Sex work
Sex industry
Physical health
Mental health
Illegal sex work
Violence
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Available online 19 November 2008

 
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Created: Fri, 10 Apr 2009, 01:34:34 EST by Elizabeth Pyke on behalf of School of Pharmacy