Sex Workers as Mothers: Correlates of Engagement in Sex Work to Support Children View Full Text


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Article Info

DATE

2021-05-21

AUTHORS

Danielle Friedman Nestadt, Ju Nyeong Park, Noya Galai, S. W. Beckham, Michele R. Decker, Jessica Zemlak, Susan G. Sherman

ABSTRACT

BackgroundGlobally, most female sex workers (FSWs) are mothers but are rarely considered as such in public health and social service programs and research. We aimed to quantitatively describe FSWs who are mothers and to examine correlates of current engagement in sex work to support children among a cohort of FSWs in Baltimore, Maryland, United States (U.S.).MethodsThe study utilized baseline survey and HIV/STI testing data from the Sex workers And Police Promoting Health In Risky Environments (SAPPHIRE) study of women engaged in street-based sex work in Baltimore, Maryland. Variable selection and interpretation were guided by Connell’s theory of Gender and Power. We used bivariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses to examine correlates of engagement in sex work to support children among FSW mothers.ResultsOur sample included 214 FSWs with children, of whom 27% reported supporting children as a reason for the current engagement in sex work. Median age was 36 years, and mean number of children was 2.88. A total of 20.6% were currently living with any of their minor aged children, and this was significantly more common among mothers engaged in sex work to support children (57.9% vs. 7%; p < 0.001). A total of 38.7% had ever lost legal custody of children, which was significantly less common among those supporting children through sex work (26.8% vs. 42.9%; p = 0.033). In multivariate analyses, the following were independently associated with engaging in sex work to support children: African-American versus white race (aOR = 2.62; 95% CI 1.18–5.82; p = 0.018), less housing instability (aOR = 0.42; 95% CI 0.20–0.89; p = 0.024), initiating sex work at age < 23 (aOR = 2.59; 95% CI 1.23–5.46; p = 0.012), less frequent intoxication during sex with clients (aOR = 0.31; 95% CI 0.14–0.67; p = 0.003), and reporting mental health as most important health concern (aOR = 2.37; 95% CI:1.09–5.17; p = 0.029).ConclusionsFSW mothers who report engagement in sex work to support children are distinct from their counterparts in key areas related to HIV and other health outcomes. Neglecting to account for this important social role may lead to missed opportunities to meaningfully promote physical and mental health and to engage women on their own terms. Future research and interventions should seek to address FSWs as whole social beings and center their experiences and needs as mothers. More... »

PAGES

251-261

References to SciGraph publications

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  • 2019-08-20. Severe Food Insecurity, Gender-Based Violence, Homelessness, and HIV Risk among Street-based Female Sex Workers in Baltimore, Maryland in AIDS AND BEHAVIOR
  • 2014-05-13. Exceeding the Individual: a Qualitative Examination of a Community-Led Structural Intervention and Its Implications for Sex Workers and Their Families in GLOBAL SOCIAL WELFARE
  • 2011-08-18. High Lifetime Pregnancy and Low Contraceptive Usage Among Sex Workers Who Use Drugs- An Unmet Reproductive Health Need in BMC PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH
  • 2015-01-13. “Whatever I Have, I Have Made by Coming into this Profession”: The Intersection of Resources, Agency, and Achievements in Pathways to Sex Work in Kolkata, India in ARCHIVES OF SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
  • 1996-09. Sex masks: The double life of female commercial sex workers in Mexico City in CULTURE, MEDICINE, AND PSYCHIATRY
  • 2018-07-31. Implementing Targeted Sampling: Lessons Learned from Recruiting Female Sex Workers in Baltimore, MD in JOURNAL OF URBAN HEALTH
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    30 FSW mothers
    31 HIV
    32 HIV/STI testing data
    33 Maryland
    34 MethodsThe study
    35 ResultsOur sample
    36 Risky Environments (SAPPHIRE) study
    37 STI testing data
    38 United States
    39 age
    40 aged children
    41 analysis
    42 area
    43 baseline survey
    44 being
    45 bivariate
    46 children
    47 clients
    48 cohort
    49 cohort of FSWs
    50 concern
    51 correlates
    52 correlates of engagement
    53 counterparts
    54 current engagement
    55 custody
    56 data
    57 engagement
    58 environment studies
    59 experience
    60 female sex workers
    61 following
    62 frequent intoxication
    63 future research
    64 gender
    65 health
    66 health concern
    67 health outcomes
    68 housing instability
    69 important health concern
    70 important social role
    71 instability
    72 interpretation
    73 intervention
    74 intoxication
    75 key areas
    76 legal custody
    77 less housing instability
    78 logistic regression analysis
    79 median age
    80 mental health
    81 minor-aged children
    82 most female sex workers
    83 mothers
    84 multivariate analysis
    85 multivariate logistic regression analysis
    86 need
    87 number
    88 number of children
    89 opportunities
    90 outcomes
    91 own terms
    92 police
    93 power
    94 program
    95 public health
    96 race
    97 reasons
    98 regression analysis
    99 research
    100 role
    101 samples
    102 selection
    103 service programs
    104 sex
    105 sex work
    106 sex workers
    107 social being
    108 social roles
    109 social service programs
    110 state
    111 street-based sex work
    112 study
    113 survey
    114 terms
    115 testing data
    116 theory
    117 total
    118 variable selection
    119 white race
    120 whole social beings
    121 women
    122 work
    123 workers
    124 years
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