Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Subcategory: Social Sciences/Psychology/Economics
John Lee Baker, Jr. - University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Co-Author(s): Bridgett R. Moss and Wheaton Franciscan, Milwaukee, WI
Transactional sex work, is broadly defined as the exchange of money, drugs, or goods for sexual services, often occurs in a wide range of environments. There is a large body of research characterizing the risks and harms associated with street- and venue-based sex work, but there is a dearth of research characterizing the risk associated with the environment of exotic dance clubs. This becomes more pronounced when it relates to African and Latina American transactional sex workers. The current study aimed to: (1) characterize the nature of female exotic dancers’ sex- and drug-related risk behaviors, (2) to examine the role of the club environment in these behaviors, and (3) to examine correlates of currently exchanging sex. From January 2013 to June 2013, we conducted a cross-sectional study among women who were aged 18 years or older and reported exotic dancing within the past three months (n =55). The survey ascertained socio-demographic characteristics, personal health, medical history, sexual practices, drug use, and employment at clubs on the block. Bivariate and multivariate Poisson regression with robust variance was used to identify correlates of current sex exchange. Participants were a median of 23 years old, and were 98% African American; 73% had not completed high school. Eighty percent reported ever having been arrested. Twenty percent reported having used methamphetamines and 56% reported having smoked crack in the past three months. Ninety-eight percent reported using drugs in the club in the past three months. Ninety-five percent had ever engaged in transactional sex, and 52% of those did so for the first time after beginning to dance. Seventy percent reported selling any sex in the club in the past three months. In multiple Poisson regression, factors associated with current sex exchange included: race, ever having been arrested, and using drugs in the club. High levels of both drug use and transactional sex among this sample of exotic dancers were reported. These findings indicate that there are a number of drug- and sex-related harms faced by exotic dancers in strip clubs, implicating the environment in the promotion of HIV/STI risk-taking behaviors. Prevention and intervention programs targeting this population are needed to reduce the harms faced by exotic dancers in this environment. This study seeks to explore further dangers in the Midwest area of this sample population that statistically mirrors the population of Baltimore, MD area samples.
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Funder Acknowledgement(s): This research was funded by the Ernest Everett Just Foundation, Inc. in Prince George’s County Maryland. Grant #326
Faculty Advisor: Bridgett R. Moss, firstname.lastname@example.org