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

Seib, Charrlotte, Fischer, Jane, & Najman, Jackob M. (2009) The health of female sex workers from three industry sectors in Queensland, Australia. Social Science and Medicine, 68(3), pp. 473-478.

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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.

Impact and interest:

16 citations in Scopus
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13 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 17394
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Australia, Women, Sex work, Sex industry, Physical health, Mental Health, Illegal Sex Work, Violence
DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.10.024
ISSN: 0277-9536
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Mental Health (111714)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified (111799)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > ANTHROPOLOGY (160100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Nursing
Copyright Owner: 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Social Science and Medicine. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Social Science and Medicine, 68(3), pp. 473-478 DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2008.10.024
Deposited On: 07 May 2009 12:06
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:44

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