175568 Socioeconomic Determinants of Commercial Sex Engagement in Internal Migrant Women in Shanghai, China

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lily H. Wu , Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI
Terence T. Sio, MS , Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI
Allon Amitai, MD , Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI
Alvaro M. Tinajero, MD, MPH, ScM , Department of Bio Med Community Health, Brown University, Providence, RI
Background and Objectives: There are an estimated 3.7 million commercial sex workers (CSW) in China, most of them internal migrant workers. Few previous studies have compared Chinese CSWs with other migrant workers. This analysis of data from the 2007 Shanghai Female Migrant Worker Study aimed to identify potential demographic determinants of sex work.

Methods: 585 female migrant workers consented to be enrolled in an interview-based survey of industrial workers, restaurant workers, and commercial sex workers. Basic demographic and economic information was collected and participants screened with the CHQ-12, a validated Chinese depression screen. Data were evaluated using bivariate analysis and multiple logistic regression.

Results: Compared to migrant industrial and restaurant workers, commercial sex workers had increased odds of reporting less than primary school education (OR 12.02), high personal debt (OR 7.71), and teenage sexual experience (OR 4.48). These findings persisted after adjusting for other demographic variables. Commercial sex workers had a crude OR of 1.88 (p=0.06) to screen positive for depression, although this finding disappeared after adjusting for differences in level of education.

Conclusion: Low education and high debt may contribute to driving migrant women into commercial sex work. Early sexual experience may increase the odds of women being involved in sex work as well. Increasing opportunities for education and financial stability among Chinese women may reduce the numbers of sex workers. While the relationship between depression and sex work was confounded by low education, further evaluation of the mental health needs of this vulnerable population is recommended.

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate socioeconomic factors which may drive internal migrant women in China into commerical sex work.

Keywords: Migrant Workers, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Principal Investigator
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.