Culture, health & sexuality 2017 08 11() 1-14 doi 10.1080/13691058.2017.1355478
In Chile, sex work takes place covertly in a variety of venues and locations. Formative research using time-location sampling methods is important in order to understand the nature of this diversity. This study used qualitative methods to develop a typology of female sex work in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Chile, using semi-structured interviews, focus groups and ethnographic fieldwork during visits to sex work venues. The study identified seven types of venue, which reflect the context and regulatory framework of the country and the structural vulnerabilities that affect female sex workers in Chile. These venues and locations include: cafés con piernas (coffee with legs); nightclubs, topless bars and cabarets; brothels; hotels; street and highway soliciting; massage parlours; and private residences. Formative research methods were helpful in identifying and characterising the venues and locations in which sex work occurred. Barriers to accessing and mapping specific locations were also identified. Recommendations for addressing these barriers include working with non-governmental organisations to map venues and initiate contact with the populations of interest. A comprehensive typology of sex work in the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Chile, is an essential element for future time-location sampling and bio-behavioural research in the context of second-generation surveillance for HIV and sexually transmitted infections in Chile.