First published in 1997, this study reports on a study of 221 sex workers in Queensland, Australia. The workers were interviewed by an interviewer with experience in the industry. They were asked a variety of questions relating to how they came to enter the industry, their knowledge of and attitudes towards safe sex, and a variety of other questions to do with lifestyle, service use and sexual health, and contact with the police and legal system. Sex work emerges as an activity which has a number of advantages. The pay is good, the hours are short and the work enables the worker to meet some interesting people and engage in social activities. Unlike other occupations, entry into sex work is somewhat haphazard (few appearing to plan entry to this industry as a career path) but, once in the industry many find it has benefits as well as disadvantages. Primary amongst these latter are the risks of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (AIDS being uppermost in their minds) or the fear of violence which is associated with the context in which services are provided. In addition, sex workers often manifest a lifestyle which includes substance use and abuse. Relationships with police are often problematic and many workers report experiences which are critical of the legal system. This book provides a broad insight into the industry which, for parts of Australia, is subjected to substantial change. Such insights contribute not only to our understanding of the industry itself but also to the kind of health promoting activities which need to be initiated.
’Anyone interested in why men and women enter the sex industry, their experiences while in it and HIV prevention should read this timely book. The implications of this empirical study reach far beyond the shores of Australia.’ Paul Wilson, Bond University, Australia
1. Social and Legal Perspectives. 2. Study Methods and Participants. 3. The Experience of Sex Work. 4. Knowledge and Attitudes about Safe Sex Practices. 5. Sexual Practices and Prevention at Work. 6. Non-Work Risk Practices. 7. Sexual and Reproductive Health. 8. Training and Support Needs. 9. Contact with the Police and Legal System. 10. Male Sex Workers. 11. Conclusions.
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