Sex Work In A Hiv Prevalent World

1216 words - 5 pages

Sex Work In A HIV Prevalent World
The anthropological article, Childhood Sexual Abuse and HIV Risk Among Crack-Using Commercial Sex Workers in San Salvador, El Salvador, offers a qualitative and in-depth analysis into the lives of sex workers in the metropolitan area of San Salvador. The purpose of this paper will be to examine the collected data from the article and apply previously discussed anthropological tactics to better understand the given information. The article underscores childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and its connection to adopting prostitution as an occupation, although, through the studied sample group no clear connection could be drawn. It is obvious that, though CSA seems to ...view middle of the document...

Disbelief of sexual abuse left broken familial bonds and furthered the stigma experienced by these women, while the fear of social rejection left many of them silent (555). In the interviews many of the women themselves drew the link between their childhood sexual abuse and their later involvement with prostitution and drugs. Their internalized feelings of shame also caused may of them to reject conventional lifestyle choices, such as romantic relationships and education (556). Drug use followed shortly after engaging in sex work, as many of the women expressed less ambivalence about drug use than their involvement in sex work (561) because drugs helped many of the women cope with their past or their current situation in sex work.
When comparing the women who experienced sexual abuse as opposed to the women who did not, there were viable differences. By using the anthropological method of comparative research, the authors were able to further highlight the argument of the article. Women who faced sexual abuse had lower levels of educational attachment than the women who were not (559). Women who were sexually abused also used drugs with greater frequency than those who did not (562). Women that had not reported sexual abuse on average even left home at an older age than the women that had reported sexual abuse (563). However, the fact still remains that the majority of the women began sex work before drug use. This indicates that they had not turned to sex work in order to support their drug use but, rather, it was the level of poverty these women faced that led them to prostitution (563).
Poverty was ubiquitous in the lives of the interviewed women (557) and HIV was widespread. The poverty these women faced constituted as a form a structural violence (557) because it left the women looking for work in the metropolitan area of San Salvador with minimal options in job opportunities to support their families. Traumatic childhood experience may have had a role in a woman’s decision to be involved in sex work, however the commonality for all 40 of the women being interviewed was not CSA but poverty (559). It was the natural instinct to survive that led many of the women to engage in sex work, as a majority of the women had children and attributed their initiation into sex work as a means of steady income. For most of the women, they engaged in sex work not to support drug use but for more basic needs, like food, clothing, and shelter for their families (568). The authors also credited possible causes for sexual abuse to economic pressures that forced extended family members into a single home; thus increasing the potential for sexual abuse (558), and...

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