History of sex trafficking, recent experiences of violence, and HIV vulnerability among female sex workers in coastal Andhra Pradesh, India
Findings from female sex workers in southern India indicate that women who enter sex work via trafficking are exposed to unique HIV vulnerabilities. Objectives—To estimate the prevalence of sex trafficking as a mode of entry into sex work, and to examine associations between sex trafficking and recent violence experiences and HIV vulnerability among female sex workers (FSWs). Methods—In a cross-sectional study in 2006 in coastal Andhra Pradesh, India, 812 FSWs were recruited via respondent-driven sampling to take part in an oral survey of their experiences in sex work. Results—One in 5 (19.3%) FSWs met the UN definition of sex trafficking. Women trafficked into sex work were more likely than other FSWs to report recent violence experiences (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.93; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32–2.81), more clients per week (AOR, 1.63; 95% CI, 1.11–2.41), and more days of sex work per week (AOR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.18–2.63), and were less likely to report use of FSW-focused services (AOR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.42–0.86). No significant differences emerged regarding HIV knowledge or consistent condom use. Conclusion—There was a high prevalence of sex trafficking. A history of sex trafficking was associated with a greater vulnerability to recent violence and HIV risk behaviors, underscoring the need for increased attention to the public health needs of trafficked populations.