FSWs face a high burden of violence and criminalization in developing countries as there is low access to safe, non-coercive care. Little is known about such experiences among FSWs in conflict-affected settings, particularly as they relate to SRH. The researchers explored factors associated with lifetime abortions among FSWs and separately modeled the independent effect of lifetime exposures to incarceration and living in IDP camps on coerced and unsafe abortions.
Analyses are based on a community-based cross-sectional research project in northern Uganda and other community organizations. Researchers administered questionnaires, sex worker/community-led outreach to sex work venues, and voluntary HIV testing by TASO.
Results Of 400 FSWs, 62 had ever accessed an abortion. In a multivariable model, gendered violence, both childhood mistreatment/or abuse at home and workplace violence by clients, was linked to increased experiences of abortion.
These results suggest a critical need to remove legal and social barriers to realizing the SRH rights of all women and ensuring safe, voluntary access to reproductive choice for marginalized and criminalized populations of FSWs.