Sex workers’ unions are demanding protection of their legal and human rights.
A sex worker is anyone who trades sex for money or other
favors. Many people picture sex workers as women who do not
wear many clothes, flirt with men, and work in brothels or on
the street. But women who sell sex are a diverse group. A sex
worker may be a young girl or an older woman with 6 children
at home. She may work in a brothel, in a bar or a club, on the
street with a pimp, or in her own home. What most of these
women share in common, though, is that they sell sex because
they desperately need money.
In this book we use the term ‘sex worker’ instead of
‘prostitute’. We do this because many people think of a
prostitute as a bad woman who should be punished. The term
‘sex worker’ emphasizes that sex workers, like other women, are
working to make a living. For the same reason, we call the men
who buy sex ‘clients’ or ‘customers’.
There are also many women who do not think of themselves as
sex workers, yet occasionally they trade sex for favors, like a place
to live, food, or a job. This is sometimes called ‘survival sex’. These
women face many of the same problems that sex workers face.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide information on the
health problems sex workers face, and about ways sex workers
can help themselves. It also helps people understand what life is
like for women who must trade sex to survive.
➤ Sex workers, like
other women, are
working to make
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012