342 Sex Workers
➤ Most women who
sell sex would rather
have a job that pays
well and that gives
them dignity and
Many people think women become sex workers because
they are immoral or too lazy to find other work. But most
women do so because they need money and have no other
way to earn it. These women need money for food and shelter,
to support their children and families, to pay debts, or to buy drugs.
This desperate need often arises in situations a woman
cannot control: for example, her husband dies, or she gets
divorced, or her husband or family abandons her. Or she may
be raped or have an unplanned pregnancy and find that no one
will marry her. If she has no job skills or ways to get money, she
sells the only thing she has—her body—in order to survive.
This young girl did not have
enough money to be able to
finish her education. She cannot
find a job, so she must sell sex
to buy food and clothes.
Story of a poor woman
Every morning around 9 o’clock, Nawal (not her real name) steps out of
the tiny room she shares with her husband, locks her two small children inside,
and walks to the wealthy area of town where she ‘works’. Wearing a traditional
dress with faded colors and a cheap black scarf thrown loosely around her head,
she looks just like any other poor woman you see everywhere in Cairo, Egypt.
She is not. Nawal is 20 years old and she is a prostitute.
‘Working’ a certain street until it is time to go home around 2 or 3 in the
afternoon, Nawal earns an average of L.E. 20 (US $6) a day. She does not
work on Fridays or religious holidays so she can spend time with her family: her
husband, who works occasionally as a construction worker, a 4-year-old son, and
a 1-year-old daughter.
Nawal’s father was blind, and he made money by begging in central Cairo.
When she was a young girl, Nawal spent more time in the street guiding her
father around than at home. She never saw her mother. At 13, she got married.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012