Women in Sex Work and the Risk Environment: Agency, Risk Perception, and Management in the Sex Work Environments of Two Mexico-U.S. Border Cities
Sex work around the world takes place under conditions of structural violence and vulnerability. The Mexico-U.S. border region is characterized by the presence of factors that increase the risk for health harms among female sex workers (FSW); located in this context, the risk environments of Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez have similar yet distinct characteristics that influence how risk is produced and experienced among FSWs. Exploring the ways in which FSWs enact agency in risk environments can illustrate how environmental characteristics shape perceived risks and the strategies that FSWs develop to manage them. This approach also identifies the limits that are placed by environmental characteristics over the capacity for harm reduction and prevention practices among FSWs. We analyzed the role of agency in the work environments of female sex workers and its relationship with risk perception and management in the cities of Tijuana and Cd. Juárez.
KeywordsFemale sex workers Risk Agency Structure Mexico-U.S. border Risk environment
We thank the Mapa de Salud field staff for their technical support in the recruitment of participants for this project. Taylor Munoz for her technical support in the quantitative aspect of this article. Finally, we would like to thank the women participated in this study for sharing their stories of struggle and resistance.
This work was supported by the National Institute of Drug Abuse under grant R01 DA028692.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The project was approved by the Institutional Review Board at UCSD, as well as the ethical review committees in Tijuana (Colegio de la Frontera Norte), and Cd. Juárez (Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez).
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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